Adam-Headshot

Hi, I’m Adam Swing.

North Canton, OH

Phone Number

(330) 212-2023

Email

 [email protected]

Experience

MissionView Church
Pastor of Student Ministries

Education

Moody Bible Institute
B.A. in Youth Ministry

Church Affiliation

Non-Denominational

Years In Ministry

5 years

Personality

ENTJ

Skills

Teaching/preaching, leadership development, effective communication, strategic planning, engaging evangelism/apologetics, vision casting, relationship building, curriculum writing, worship leading

Tools & Software

Church Community Builder, Microsoft Office Suite, Planning Center Online, ProPresenter, Text-In-Church

Personal

Married to Emily for 4 years
No kids

Top 3 Strengths

Visionary0%

Strategic Thinking0%

Communicative0%

Discipleship Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I grew up in a nominally spiritual home. My parents were moral people who attended church on Christmas and Easter. It wasn’t until my father passed away due to a car accident that things started to change for us. As often happens in crisis, we went to church! One by one, we each realized that we were sinners who needed a savior and that that savior was Jesus. For me, it was on a youth retreat as a high school student. I was fortunate to have men in my life disciple me and now I live to serve and glorify my Lord and savior!
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
  • Organized
Personality Type
Myers Briggs: ENTJ, DISC: DI, Enneagram: 8, Strength Finders: Strategic, Futuristic, Developer, Communication, Self Assurance Right Path: Driver
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
Famous Authors/Speakers/Ministry Leaders: John Piper, Matt Chandler, Ravi Zacharias, David Platt, Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, Paul David Tripp, Al Mohler, Wayne Grudem, Randy Alcorn, Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis, Michael Reeves, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jerry Bridges, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jordan Peterson, Ed Stetzer Personal mentors: Steve Marshall (my former boss who passed away), Jim Bossler (a long time mentor and ministry friend who discipled me as a student), Joe Coffee (lead pastor of my old church in northeast Ohio), John Clark and Marcus Johnson (Moody Bible Institute professors, co-authors of One with Christ). I don’t necessarily model my preaching after a certain individual. I perhaps have most admired my hometown pastor Joe Coffee from Christ Community Chapel. He is similar to Mark Driscoll, though much less bullish. Every message has relevant content to both the believer and the unbeliever. It is heavy on Ravi Zacharias-style apologetics while still being expositional. I perhaps am slightly more expositional in my style, though.
Discipleship
How do you plan to engage and inform your church about your ministry objectives and progress?
I am a team player that has a top-down philosophy of ministry. I don’t encourage individual ministries to operate on islands apart from one another. I think that the mission and vision should come from the top and then ministries should strategically align their programs accordingly. It’s a very purpose-driven ministry approach that sometimes takes sacrifice. – I regularly do “needs assessments” within different areas of ministry to best determine what a healthy course of action would be. Identifying weaknesses helps us to find a heading for where we are and where we need to go. – I believe in open and honest communication. I never have secret agendas in ministry. If something is for outreach, the people know it. If I am speaking with a goal in mind for a target demographic, I say as much. There is never a surprise with what our objectives in ministry are, and we are likewise open about successes and failures. I also really value consistent and strategic communication. For example, folks should always know where to look if they have questions.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new small group strategy. What did you do?
Our youth ministry didn’t have small groups when I arrived. We implemented guys/girls small groups that were much different than our typical “youth group” night. They were separated by gender and in homes. They included food and more intentional time in God’s word that was more discussion-based and less lesson-based. The needs of groups changed over time, so they were very agile and flexible to address current real-world issues. For example, what role does Christ play in politics, etc. As our youth ministries have grown, I was unable to be the pastor to every student. Our model had to switch to me developing more leaders. We come up with what we called “no student left behind” and worked on a systematic approach to connecting with our kids. We sorted out the students and made sure that our leadership team was actively involved in their lives. Leaders began texting, calling, getting to know their parents, getting to know their friends, attending their ball games, etc.
How would you alleviate confusion when you are communicating with someone and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
In teaching and in communication in general, I have a 30,000 ft. flyover approach. I tend to start with what we are talking about in the broadest sense and then get narrower from there. I also tend to use lots of real-life illustrations and analogies. If in a large setting it is clear that what I am communicating is ineffective, I’ll try to attack it from a different angle. I like to be interactive and open with an audience at that point, though. In interpersonal communication, I have a sort of “shepherd-like” instinct if folks are not on the same page. Personally, I like to address that as soon as it happens. One practical way to do this is via reflective listening, whereas I tell the person, “this is what I think you’re saying, is that right?” Usually a breakdown in communication is also a breakdown in listening, so that’s something I strive to practice for myself. When it comes to conflict, sometimes it helps to have a third party involved.
Spiritual Growth
Once someone accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
First, I check to see who is the best person positioned to disciple them. If there is someone in a better position than me, I’ll encourage that relationship first. For me, I am quite flexible. I think different people in scripture were discipled in different ways. One thing I tend to start with is engaging the person at whatever level they’d like. If they are a head person, we might start with apologetics and rationale for the plausibility of the resurrection. If they are a heart person, we might read the book of John and learn more about the love that God has for them. If they are a hands person, we might serve together. For many, they want to know what relevance this new relationship has to their marriage, their school, their job, etc. For this person, we’d tackle things head on. As a general rule, I love teaching people HOW to read the Bible, rather than just reading it to them or with them.
As the spiritual leader of your ministry, how are you going to help small group leaders grow in their faith?
Relationships are the bread and butter of effective ministry. I love being relational with my leaders, letting them know they are loved, cared for, supported, and appreciated. While the “customer is always right” mentality sometimes works in business, there are also numerous examples of successful business that have developed a model of serving their employees first. I’ve adopted this idea with my leaders. Strategy-wise, I am somewhat “hierarchical” when it comes to working through life with my leaders. I tend to focus on them, their relationship to God, their relationship to their family, etc. first before getting into the meat of how they are leading their small groups. I ask hard and real questions. If someone wants to be a small group leader but doesn’t want to be part of the larger body for worship, I will challenge that. If someone wants to lead a Bible study but doesn’t know how to study the Bible, I will work with them to learn!
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
This question is tough, simply because there are so many angles to take! I’ll give a few major points that I love that I’d be happy to unpack.
  • Pray first. Pray more.
  • The gospel (the good news that Christ has come to save sinners) should be evident in the church as the most important thing anyone can ever hear and the reason for our existence. Evident in branding, in teaching, in events, etc. The church should be unapologetically Christian. Even Sunday services should be about worshipping him.
  • That being said, I think preaching/teaching, events, and more can be enriching to the believer, enticing to the unbeliever, and intriguing to the skeptic simultaneously. Authenticity and apologetics are so valuable here! We would do well to strip away some of the Christianese that serves as a barrier to the unbelieving folks in our communities. God is not going to be upset that we said “virgin birth” instead of “immaculate conception.”
  • I am more missional than attractional. I prefer incarnational ministry of going TO people (in our communities, in our workplaces, etc.). We should be engaged locally. However, the church should also be attractive.
  • I prefer expositional preaching, but am okay with topical as well. I’d love to see more churches teach their body to fish, rather than just give a fish.
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast, but the only way to change culture is strategically. Clear mission & vision is vital.
  • Relationships and community are key components of successful discipleship. Boldness is a key component of successful evangelism. People in our congregation are going to be more effective for multiplication than our programs will, so let’s equip them.
  • We should be unified in our objectives for the Kingdom. Even with other local gospel-believing churches.
  • Golfers golf. Swimmers swim. Christians serve.
  • Ministries of the church should not operate on individual islands distinct from one another, but in harmony.
Share with me how you deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
For the past five years I’ve served as the Pastor of Student Ministries at a growing church plant. On a small but growing staff, I jokingly referred to myself as the “auxiliary pastor.” When we went through major staff transition after the death of my boss, we all had to get very comfortable with major change very quickly. Personally, I like being fast-paced. I think people are more motivated by exciting goals and enriching vision than just maintaining the status quo. When everyone’s eyes are looking forward to the goal of advancing God’s kingdom, we are much more unified.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
I am big on strategy. Nothing irks me more than having a program or process in place “just because it’s always been there.” I really admire Saddleback’s approach to purpose-driven ministry. If things don’t fall under the umbrella of the goal, are they really valuable? Before and after every event, I am asking these questions. SWOT analysis tools and needs assessments are helpful for this type of evaluation. For me, it all depends on the clarity of the mission and having goals/objectives before ever beginning.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea?
I am an idea-generator. Admittedly, though, that means good, bad, and ugly. One of my favorites that we implemented for our student ministry was a fundraiser called “Mulch Madness.” Typically, our elder board didn’t like fundraisers but they approved of this one. The youth ministry did two mission trips every summer. Depending on the family and the trip, sometimes folks needed financial help. Families in our church who were going to get mulch in the spring could sign up for this event. One weekend, our students split into teams and spread hundreds of yards of mulch at different homes. It was a win-win for everyone. Students got skin in the game and worked hard. Folks in the church who were getting mulch anyway but didn’t want to spread it could be excited about giving towards a missional cause. Implementation needed buy-in from students (who worked), parents and friends (who joined in the work), and church members (who needed it done). It even turned into a little bit of an outreach when neighbors began to ask questions and sign up the following years. Implementation was a mix of proposition to the elders, advertising to the body and community, enthusiasm with the kids, and follow-up and forward planning for the next year.
How has COVID changed your approach on how to create community with the church members and nonbelievers?
Due to in-person meeting restrictions, we utilized online platforms. While I think this is a great tool, I think it is just that. A tool. In no way do I believe a screen to be a substitute for in-person ministry. That being said, let’s use it with excellence so that we can get back to relating more interpersonally. I would love to see more churches find ways to have online interactions bridge the gap between home and the Sunday morning service. I will say, COVID has presented numerous opportunities. Like supply & demand, the value of interpersonal connection has skyrocketed. People are now realizing that being part of a body is vital in the Christian life. We doubled-down on relationship building and talking about these types of issues. Likewise, there are loads of new opportunities for connecting with non-believers. When things look bleak in the world, the light of Christ seems even brighter. I just read about a local church that has been saving money for a rainy-day community fund. With it they are showering local business and service organizations with appreciation. I love this! All in all, while COVID has been obnoxious, it has created opportunity for new and exotic ideas.
What is your experience with creating an online weekend experience via live stream?
While our church utilized online platforms, it was never my direct responsibility. I did sit in on meetings and listen to lots of details about it, however. Often times I would be called in to give insight or troubleshoot issues. I have a bit of a worship background, so I can speak into the technical side of things a bit. More often, though, I would be utilized in a front-facing personality role. I have a good baseline, but I would be eager to learn more about the ins and outs of streamlining online weekend experiences.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
Numbers are always a tempting goal. Yet, while we want to see multiplication, we want that growth to be healthy. Our youth ministry grew from 5 to 50 average attendees in my time there, but I am more excited by the mentality that changed during my tenure. When I first arrived, we had middle school and high school students combined for the sake of critical mass. In my first year, every conversation with parents was about WHEN we would split up. The argument was always that the high school students had more serious issues to discuss than the younger kids, and frankly, the middle schoolers were too obnoxious for them. While I understood the sentiment, I challenged it in a few ways. First, I asked folks more specifically about the issues the high schoolers faced. 9/10 times those problems began in middle school. Second, I questioned the mentality of encouraging students to become consumer Christians at a young age. Rather than the youth ministry be a place where we come and are “fed”, perhaps it is an opportunity to grow while pouring into other. A wild shift took place as older students (and parents) took ownership of a ministry opportunity. Students began to disciple those younger than them. Then as the younger ones grew up, they knew just what to do. This change in mindset is one of the things I am most proud of. Folks haven’t asked about splitting up for years.
What would it take to grow a successful discipleship program?
I’d start with top-down support. Lazy vision from leadership will lead to lazy execution in all areas of ministry. I think a clearly defined mission/vision goes a long way. Sacrifice is important as well. As I’ve mentioned before, some things simply are not effective and those things need to go. Risk can be good. I love the idea that “stupidity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.” As an example, men’s ministry by and large across the US, has not been successful. Yet so many churches do men’s ministry the exact same way. We stick a men’s breakfast on the calendar, say something about ironing sharpening iron, invite an athlete to speak, and then we call it a day. Let’s get a little bolder and more serious! Relationship building is key. Part of that includes developing a strong foundation of leaders. It can’t all fall on one person. Personally, I think there is something to be said about curriculum here. I’ve been in discipleship groups that have fallen apart because the leader is simply using a terrible resource. This requires either some writing, some research, or both.
Your members/guests come to church with specialized needs, different learning styles, and family stresses. Do you have a strategy to provide significant ministry to meet these needs?
This is a really wide-ranging question. I was encouraged by a conversation with Justin Laib recently about ministering to “the one.” While he talked about sheep and coins, I began to think that there are some shepherd/sheep matchups that are more effective than others. What I mean by that is this: I will not be the most effective person to reach the family struggling with their new foster care kids. If we have someone in the church who is seasoned in this area, though, I should absolutely connect them. Being a shepherd to shepherds and connecting people is valuable. Now, some additional practical things. My objective in preaching and teaching is to do so at a level that everyone feels comfortable. I try to teach at about an 8th grade level, engaging with theology but avoiding too much “Christianese.” I love apologetics and illustrations. I think every message should be heard by the seasoned believer and the skeptic atheist. With regard to ministry programs, I prefer to join in the work that God is already doing rather than start something new. If another church in town has a thriving prison ministry, let’s aid them. If the local school system has a food bank in place, let’s join in that work! If nothing exists in the way of helping those struggling with addictions, then by all means let’s put something in place and do it well.
Describe the diversity of some of the ministries with which you’ve worked. How did you go about learning and educating yourself in order to effectively reach your community?
First, I used to lead worship at my old church for a juvenile detention center. Second, when I lived in Chicago for school we did a lot of urban ministry. Third, we have been doing a youth mission trip to a camp called Echoing Hills in central Ohio for kids with developmental disabilities. With all of these ministries I’d say the same thing. While there’s some training involved, nothing beats diving in head first. Getting to know people, getting to see/hear/feel the environment and the world they live in. There’s something incarnational about living like Jesus. GIVE UP, GO TO, BE WITH. And then keep coming back. It’s missional.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for curriculum choices?
I have been writing my own curriculum for the past few years. However, whenever I am discussing curriculum I rely heavily on others. What did you hear about this one? What are the pros/cons of Grow vs. Orange? Which edition of Journey do you like? I’ll investigate and research myself to see where it comes from, who the biggest proponents are, what the biggest complaints are, etc. I also wouldn’t shy away from connecting with others who have been doing this research longer and asking their opinion. The key piece in any curriculum, of course, is whether or not the material is biblically sound.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
My participation in safety protocols on Sunday morning have been minimal. However, I did write a leadership manual and protection policy for our youth ministry that I’d be happy to share. Our leadership team revisits it every year. It includes everything from social media safety to Christian liberties to meeting with students.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and discipleship pastor?
For starters, I think that there should be some sort of relationship here. If not with Sklyer, at least with Reg. It is key that this position readily submits to the authority of the leadership. Clear expectations and goals, as well as some semblance of mentorship/development, can be quite valuable. These positions should “have each other’s backs” so to speak. Especially when dealing with issues in the congregation. In appropriate settings, though, I think there should be open and honest communication. If I think something is disastrous, I hope I’d be afforded the freedom to work through that with leadership. And I hope they would have as much concern for my areas of ministry to tell me so as well. Ultimately, there should be a balance of autonomy and accountability. Furthermore, ideally these pastors could be friends, seeing one another as co-laborers for the sake of the gospel.

References

Joel Strode || (779) 206-8712 || [email protected]
Jim Bossler || (330) 327-4006 || [email protected]
Matt Haupt || (330) 497-6442 || [email protected]
Kelly Hansen || (330) 497-6442 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

The story of Jonah

Favorite Scripture

Exodus 4:10-12