Hi, I’m Adam Novak.

Fort Walton Beach, FL

Phone Number

(863) 521-9661


[email protected]


Gathering Church
Worship and Student Ministry Director


Warner University
BS in Church Ministry

Church Affiliation


Years In Ministry

11 years




Teaching/preaching, Vision casting and Recruiting, Leading Worship, Organization and Administration, Training and Growing Leaders

Tools & Software

Fellowship One, Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter


Wife: Bree - Married 6 years

Top 3 Strengths




Student Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I grew up in the church, my parents were both bi-vocationally involved in ministry. I had a rebellious phase through middle and early high school where I focused all on what I wanted in the moment. For most of that time, I lived, breathed, and only cared about baseball. All the while I was still heavily involved in churches as my parents were. I started going to a youth group where I met my mentor, JJ, who saw something in me that a lot of other people didn’t and he decided to make me a student leader, have me involved in the band, so on and so forth. I got hurt during the summer before my senior year and had baseball taken away from me, and shortly after that I was attending a conference for student leaders when I felt this overwhelming power that I couldn’t come close to explaining at the time. I know now that I was feeling the urge of the Holy Spirit. I went forward in this church in front of a bunch of students when we were called to respond and I gave my life to Christ and promised in that moment to do two things: live for him, making sure that every decision I make is glorifying to Him, and find my identity in Him. I have been perfect at neither of those things, but those were the two things that the conference was about, and I was captivated by the idea that I didn’t have to feel empty without finding my identity in how I play a baseball game. I would love to say, “the rest is history,” but there is a ton more to share, this is just a synopsis.
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Intense
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.

Personally, my parents, JJ (my mentor), and my various ministry coaches that I have worked alongside. I also find myself constantly being fed by the leaders in my ministry. Challenged, but not in a negative way. They do a great job of making sure that leadership is a two-way street. On a less personal side, my favorite authors include Matt Chandler, Craig Groeschel, Scot McKnight, David Platt, Eric Mason, Rondell Treviño, Ed Welch, Paul Tripp, Tim Keller, Bob Goff, Mike Cosper. I enjoy listening to sermons by various pastors but have found that learning in my own context in that way is the best way to go.

How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
This is a big one for me. Engaging with parents, making sure they know that we are on the same team and I am just a supplement to what they can do with their students is a really big deal to me. I aim to have two parent meetings per semester and one over the summer for a total of at least 5 per year. Sometimes I do what is called Parent Night where parents join us for the entire Youth Service, sometimes I do a separate meeting for parents, it all depends on context. I like for my team to have constant two-way communication, as previously stated. I never, ever want to have a volunteer say, “I didn’t know about ____ coming up.” I have learned that in most contexts, over-communication is the perfect amount of communication. I also try to make sure that the volunteers are being fed and are doing well spiritually. Mental health is very important to me, we can go into that later if you’d like, but I have found that youth ministry is a place where people tend to burn out a little quicker than some ministries (not that any are easier, don’t take this as a negative), so I try to be proactive in that instead of reactive. I check in constantly and know how to spot unhealthy patterns.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
We met, ate together, and grew as a family as the main priority. In that we focused a lot on being on the same page spiritually and vision-wise to make sure we were setting ourselves up for success. Having done it a few times, I like to walk in to a new team with a foundation and skeleton of a vision but allow them to buy in and provide insight to what they have seen working. My current team started as a group of 4 (two being high capacity, two being lower capacity) and has grown into a group of 15 (with 6 being very high capacity, 4 being relatively high and the rest being mid-capacity). I am blessed to not currently have anyone I would consider to be low-capacity leaders, but I am just as thankful for them when I have them.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
This is where over-communication helps out a lot. I can tell when the team isn’t grasping what I’m throwing their way, and clarification is something I’ve had to do in the past and don’t mind doing. Being able to break down the key parts of vision is a necessity. When I don’t understand something, I am quick to simply ask for clarification. Not in a “you aren’t making any sense” kind of context, more like “I think I’m having trouble understanding, would you mind breaking it down for me?” I actually had this happen last year with an event idea for our Winter Retreat. Once it was explained better it became one of the best parts of the retreat!
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
The first step is talking to the student and encouraging them to share the news with their parents. If I haven’t heard from the parents in a couple of days, I reach out to them and say something along the lines of “Hey! I don’t know if he told you, but Johnny accepted Christ on Wednesday. We are so excited to have seen him take this step. Let us know if we can be praying for anything as we continue this journey!” I make sure they have a Bible and depending on my relationship with the student (and other factors) either myself or a trusted leader would start walking through a discipleship book that is approved by the leadership of the church. There are a ton of factors that decide how quickly we push them toward baptism, how we choose to disciple them and how we “go for it,” if that makes sense.
As the spiritual leader of your ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
We read through books twice a year (if not a little more), and I check in with them as often as possible. One of the big things I look for in a leader is someone who is growing in Christ on their own, and I try to come alongside that.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
Student Ministry specifically, I focus on two main factors: the gospel and the three i’s. The gospel should be at the forefront of every decision, every interaction, and every aspect of the Student Ministry. When this is ignored the group is nothing more than a social club. I try to make sure the gospel is preached, taught, applied and lived through our leaders, students and group overall. The three i’s are impact, influence, and identity. Three things that each and every student (person, even) deals with on a regular basis. How are we impacting the world around us? How are we being influenced in the circles we walk in? Where do we find our identity? When these things are driven home over and over, results follow. I try to make sure that any student that I am in charge of for one week or seven years is set up for success in their future, and the last of the three i’s is the most important in that aspect. Where you find your identity, you find your value.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
A vision board really Growing up in the church I saw a lot of ideas come to pass, some good…some not so good. One idea that was extremely beneficial to me was Winter Retreat. When I took over the student ministry at my current church, they did Summer Camp but had never done a student retreat, so I introduced it as an annual event. It sees more engagement and excitement than our summer camps do, to the point that we have been considering doing a Summer Retreat instead of Summer Camp. Implementing it wasn’t easy, I had to answer the question “why?” quite a few times to volunteers, leadership and definitely parents. All in all, our first Winter Retreat saw 4 students accept Christ, our second saw 7 accept Christ, and our most recent had 2. Attendance has gone from 15 to 27, to 42. The bonding aspect of the weekend retreat is the best part, though. A good portion of our students show up having only known the group for a semester, a year and a half at most, and we leave the weekend as a family. a ton. Helping us understand the important of goal setting plus careful planning and strategy.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
Communication with leaders is helpful for this as well, as well as communication with the leadership alongside and above me. Parents tend to let you know when things aren’t going exactly well at the same time. When I am perfectly comfortable with a system in place, it still needs evaluation to see how it can be improved when necessary because of growth or lack thereof.
Share with me what you would do to deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
Thrive. I greatly prefer a fast-paced environment in which things get done. I understand and trust processes that are put in place by leadership, and I respect them. That being said, flexibility is something I try to live by. I currently serve in a position that is marked less as “ever-changing,” but I have served in positions like that before and I am fine either way.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
My biggest goal was to reinvigorate the Volunteer team. When I took over, we had a small handful of leaders, and that has grown extensively, as previously stated. I did a lot of recruiting through my volunteers. We targeted specific people we thought would be great and ended up netting just over half of them. Our first question was “after prayer, is this something you feel called to?” We prayed and reached out to every corner of the church that we could, and now our volunteer team is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
What would it take to grow a student ministry program?
The foundation is building a relationship with the parents and helping them understand that we are partnering with them, not battling against them. After that, preach the gospel, teach the gospel, apply the gospel, and live the gospel. Having strong volunteers is a must and having a few students early on with a lot of buy in is incredibly helpful. To continue growing, you equip the students by teaching them how to share why attending the youth group is important. For kids specifically, having the parents bought in to the vision does this, because they will want to share that with other parents.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
Background checks are typically done by the church, but when screening volunteers I have used multiple application types. Most recently, I have them answer a short, 4-5 essay-style questionnaire, meet up with them to discuss, and then have them fill out something a bit longer before we have them observe for a few weeks before diving in as a leader. When a new leader is brought on, they are introduced to the students and prayed for by the group. For curriculum I tend to lean on the leadership above me. I like to present them with options at the beginning, see what the leaders of the church think about each and make a decision together, so they know I am not just speaking on whatever I want to. I have used Grow, the Gospel Project, Orange, Download Youth Ministry, and most recently Ministry Pass.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
Emergency procedures/protocols are incredibly important. Currently, we have a member of our church Safety Team (legally we cannot call them security in our county) and they are trained in first aid and rapid response. We have lockdown and lockout procedures, fire and storm procedures, etc. that we go over at least once per year with the parents and volunteers. We also lock the doors to the building on youth nights fifteen minutes after youth starts and have the phone number of one of our key leaders posted on the door in case anyone needs to get inside. We do not currently have a check-in process for the students but we require parents to walk inside to drop their students off and pick them up.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and student pastor?
Personally, I think there needs to be a mutual trust between the two. Doubt leads to micromanagement from the top and skepticism from the bottom. The best relationships I’ve seen are those that treat each other like family, not business partners. Having been in extremes on both sides, balance is necessary. I would like to know that I am invited to the Lead Pastors house and can call him when I need something, and vice versa, but also that I can look forward to being trained by them in ministry in a mentor-like role. All Lead Pastors expect the Student Pastor to have buy-in to the vision of the church. I think it is necessary that the Lead Pastor have buy-in to the vision of the Family and Student ministries as well.


Katie Goolsby || (757) 879-3430 || [email protected]
JJ Gawlowicz || (863) 660-5100 || [email protected]
Chris Sanchez || (210) 426-9215 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

The Book of Jonah.

Favorite Scripture

Matthew 6:25-34

John 3:30