80991838_10218396738887674_1026242655392104448_o

Hi, I’m Sam Peketz.

Lochbuie, CO

Phone Number

(720) 231-4696

Email

sam.peketz@gmail.com

Experience

Northern Hills Church
NextGen Pastor / Teaching Pastor

Education

Colorado Christian University
BA in Youth Ministry

Church Affiliation

Non-Denominational

Years In Ministry

9 years

Personality

INFJ

Skills

Teaching/preaching, message/content writing, series designing, vision casting, leader development, tech, sound, lighting, recruiting, administrative skills

Tools & Software

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

Personal

Married to Josie for 3 years
No kids
Ordained in Ministry

Top 3 Strengths

Speaking0%

Strategic Thinking0%

Passionate0%

Discipleship Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I have known about Jesus my entire life. In the “Christian” home I grew up in, we went to church, prayed before dinner, and suffered through small group. Perhaps it was more accurate to say that Christian was more of our culture than our faith. I don’t doubt the authenticity of my parent’s faith, but our lives seemed to be more about the motions than the motivations for my sister and I. After my parent’s divorce when I was in 6th grade, I encountered the downward spiral of depression and anxiety that ultimately led to suicidal thoughts and actions. On one particularly dark and desperate day, Jesus found me in a miraculous moment and moved from being an idea to a reality in my life. Though I still didn’t fully understand what that meant, I started to invest my time and energy into youth group and quickly grew closer to my youth pastor. As I progressed through High School and started looking at what I wanted to do with my life, all I knew for certain was that I wanted to do what my youth pastor did: Hang out with teenagers, play frisbee, get Slurpees, and get paid for it. So I googled the best way to do that, found the first college that had anything to do with my air-tight life plan, and showed up on campus at CCU. It was there that Jesus really grabbed ahold of me and turned my life around completely. Primarily, it was through a group of students that I was blessed to become the youth pastor to at eighteen-years-old and two months after actually owning my faith. These students asked good questions that I had never thought about before and together, we learned about the God of creation and fell in love with Jesus so deeply. Since then, I have been in full-time ministry, continuing to learn and grow in faith through the power of the Holy Spirit alongside my beautiful bride of 3 years and our two insane dogs. We have experienced crisis and victory together through our journey, and now we know that He is calling us to step out in faith to whatever is next in the story He is writing.
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Intense
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Inspirational
  • Loving
Personality Type
StrengthsFinder: Arranger, Belief, Achiever, Maximizer, Positivity. DISC: “I” Myers-Briggs: INFJ Enneagram: Intimate 3w4
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
For my personal growth and those who I give influence to in my life professionally and personally would include authors and speakers such as Bob Goff, Craig Groeschel, Michael Todd, Andy Stanley, Paul David Tripp, and Louie Giglio. I would describe my teaching style to be greatly influenced by that of Craig Groeschel and several local teachers that I greatly respect and admire.
Discipleship
How do you plan to engage and inform your church about your ministry objectives and progress?
I believe that people will support and take steps in a clear and purposeful vision that is given by the Holy Spirit if they are also able to articulate for themselves what is their specific part is in it. To do this, story is key. There have to be celebration points that people can point to as the ministry progresses in addition to corrective adjustments when necessary. In addition, the more specific and attainable the next objective is, the better. “We’re raising money for ______” is good, but “we’re raising $10,000 by doing _____ for ______” is better. For each of these elements, there should be different mediums used for specific purposes. For consistent communication, e-mail is great! For story and celebration, video (well done) or something tangible is a home run.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new small group strategy. What did you do?
The most drastic change to our small group strategy that we have made came when we adopted the Rooted material for Groups. Previously, our groups had been meeting at whatever consistency they wanted and were really left to come up with whatever they wanted to go through. However, after we saw the effectiveness of the rhythms of Rooted, we began to shape our group strategy on that cycle. I believe that it was effective in equal parts to the clarity of expectations and content, the clearly presented start/stop dates, and being able to resource members of those groups beyond the given content. So our groups currently meet in 10-week rhythms in the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters, while some groups have chosen to meet more consistently while still engaging in the unified content options set before them. That being said, if facilitators feel that their group needs something specific, the process is set up for them to seek it out from our Connections Pastor who will either approve and acquire the resource or suggest another solid option with the same direction.
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?
The best practice for addressing miscommunication that I have been coached in is to ask the other party what it is that they heard. At that point, their answer will allow me insight into their context in which they interpreted whatever was said and allow me to adjust the words or process in which I am communicating. I believe that it is also important to address the medium in which the communication is happening. While in-person is usually the best bet, it is not always the case. For instance, if miscommunication is happening consistently in verbal engagements and it leads to unproductive or unhealthy dialogue, then written communication would be the best next step to be able to point back to something in cases of correction.
Spiritual Growth
Once someone accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
Once someone accepts Christ, I love to discover and pursue things that they are passionate in as well as the areas they need to grow. I believe that God intentionally uses the things that we are uniquely passionate about to help us discover more of His heart and our purpose in HIs story. From there, I am a huge advocate for mentorship and intentional investment beyond the community of a group that they will plug into. As a pastor, I strongly believe that my role is not to disciple everyone, but rather to be a connection to the person who will be.
As the spiritual leader of your ministry, how are you going to help small group leaders grow in their faith?
As a leader of my ministry, I believe that my small group leaders are my small group. In the same way that we, as pastoral staff, are expected to grow and plug into a community where we are not Pastor Sam, but just Sam, the same is true for the leaders. The expectation for leadership goes beyond pouring into our groups. It includes (and cannot successfully be done without) intentionally filling up and caring for our own souls in community. Beyond that, I believe that one of the best things that we can do is help coach leaders to become master question-askers. This approach to relational ministry naturally leaks into our pursuit of Jesus.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
In a statement, my philosophy of ministry is: Cultivating biblically-guided relational intentionality within an excellent environment. Cultivating: An ongoing process of honoring tradition while pushing innovation for the purposes of growth and care. Biblically-guided: The very foundation for ministry should be rooted in Scripture (Truth) to develop lives and relationships that point to the Heart of God, the Redeeming Grace of Jesus, and the Power of the Holy Spirit Relational.  Intentionality: Real relationships don’t just happen. They are intentional, messy, hard, and something worth fighting for. What are we doing (program and process) that helps people actively grow and engage relational and spiritual disciplines (pursuit of God and others) within their life? Excellent Environment: This does not mean the space in which we gather to worship in community, although it certainly includes that. This goes into how we can equip people and eliminate roadblocks and speedbumps to best encounter God and engage in a lifestyle of worship. To create excellent environments, we must address and be intentional the physical space as well as the heart space. The attitude someone comes to the table with will dictate the environment of worship just as much as the quality of the content they engage with. Whether in-person or virtual, solo or in community, how can we help others cultivate an environment from the inside out to be intentional with our pursuit of Christ?
Share with me how you deal with a fast-paced, always changing environment. Have you had this experience in a previous position?
2020 has been all about this… and I am here for it! I love the innovation that seasons like this push us to within the Church. I have rarely been a person who looks at what has been disrupted and grieve it’s passing. Rather, I often find myself asking, “ok! What are we going to do here? What can we keep? What do we need to innovate? What do we need to stop?”
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
The biggest obstacle to our own success that I believe we run into most often is not questioning our ‘wins’ like we do our ‘misses’. Oftentimes, we just accept the wins of an event, process, or program instead of asking “why did that work? Will it work again?” or the real detriment is not asking “how can we make this better?”. Within the Student Ministry world, after each night of programming and groups, the last question that I would ask our leaders is “How can we make next week even better?” and then allowed them to brainstorm and refine what it is that we were doing – after all, they were the ones ‘in the trenches’! Another way that I systematically evaluate systems is through a Ministry Life Cycle chart and honestly place each aspect of a system in the growing, booming, decelerating, or dying quadrants.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea?
The last series that I designed for our Church was based around the reality that many of us often dismiss our stories because they’re not “powerful” enough, or they know of someone with a “better” story. So this series was all about looking at our story through three key elements that we are all familiar with: Bold, Underlined, Italics. Each week focused on a different element of our story (i.e. Bold – What about your life captures the attention of others). The last week, however, I wanted to be more intentional with allowing people the space and time to process their story well. So in place of the normal Sunday Morning experience, we would create a unique online-only engagement as well as an in-person engagement that focused on how to unpack their story within the larger narrative that God is writing by utilizing table groups in place of rows, facilitated conversation in place of a message, and guided worksheets that asked key questions into their life.
How has COVID changed your approach on how to create community with the church members and nonbelievers?
Covid has forced us to focus on how we are pursuing connection in excellence online as opposed to the past when it was considered a luxury. Part of this meant creating a unique space for the core community of our Church. A place to safely share prayer requests and needs while still being able to engage with one another and find encouragement. So we created a community group that those who called our Church home could engage in while also having unique engagements almost every day led by various pastoral staff. This looked like Coffee devos on Tuesdays, Worship on Wednesdays, Prayer on Thursdays, Fun family engagements on Fridays, and more! In order to continue the push out into our community, we also created a “Love Your Neighbor Adams Country” Facebook group. This was a space that we pointed our people to, but allowed anyone and everyone from the community to join. People from all over posted needs, items of surplus, and encouragement daily. Local government officials utilized it as one of the key areas for the community to have its needs met and it exploded!
What is your experience with creating an online weekend experience via live stream?
I am currently very involved in this process. The mix between pre-produced and live elements has become a healthy blend week-to-week. Anything from our 10-minute-before announcement videos, opener/closer videos, and key transitional elements are all pre-produced to allow us to focus on creating an online experience that best marries the two environments. On key days, we may do an online-specific engagement and an in-person engagement that are different depending on the purposes for that day and our capabilities in providing excellent environments online. I believe one of the constant growth areas for our current context is making the individual listening or watching on a digital format feel welcome, seen, engaged, and challenged as if they were in the same space as opposed to “looking in”.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
One of the goals that I had set within a NextGen area of ministry was better engaging and equipping High School Juniors and Seniors within the Church. In our context, this is the most culturally engaged and spiritually disengaged demographic all over the area. Many work one to two jobs, have various commitments such as sports or clubs, and are often taking classes that give college credit on top of their normal school-load. So we had to ask the question, “if this is their reality, then why are we still expecting them to engage and prioritize the same way they did when they entered the High School ministry?”. So we worked with some of the other teams to begin making the transition from Consumer ministry to Ownership opportunity. Now, our core Upperclassmen students are anything from interns with various focal points in our Sunday experiences, to key leads for different teams.
What would it take to grow a successful discipleship program?
In order to grow a successful discipleship program, it would take unified communication and holistic buy-in. It must be something that the leadership of the Church (staff, elders, key leads and volunteers) all have clarity and involvement in. If we are pointing to something that we are not plugged into or have not experienced, it will fail. No amount of resourcing or staffing will bring success to something that a unified team does not actively believe in and participate in. I believe that almost anything else we can be flexible in and innovative with, but this is the key to a successful discipleship program – second only to prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
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?
I believe that very rarely can on single organization meet all of the needs of all of the people. Wisdom in ministry comes from knowing what we are a) uniquely gifted to be able to meet, b) equipped to serve and c) the ability to connect those that we cannot serve in excellence with someone/an organization that can. The skill to say no to be able to say yes is something that we must continue to grow in ministry circles. That being said, it does not mean that we turn everyone away who “does not fit the mold.” For instance, the reality that people are coming to the table with different learning styles points directly to the fact that there are leaders with different teaching styles. How can we be flexible enough in our programming to equip and embrace those with innovative skills and ideas that continue to run hard after the overall vision of the Church? I know my gifts and skills, but as a leader, I must also know and utilize the gifts and skills of those around me.
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?
I have worked in a Southern Baptist Church in a more urban context with a wide range of ethnicities present as well as a highly white-suburban Evangelical Free Church to a more rural-suburban commuter-style non-denominational Church with a shifting presence of Hispanic families. The best way that I have come to learn and embrace each context and community is to live in, or at the very least consistently engage in that community. Anything from strategically eating at the places that the majority of our people eat, going to events that are built for that community, or watching the game across town at someone else’s home, but all the while asking key questions, listening, and learning.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for curriculum choices?
Having identified if the options before me are Biblically sound, relationally engaging, and culturally/contextually appropriate, my process has been: 1) What do we (our individual groups) need? 2) What are we (leadership) equipped to do? 3) How flexible is the system/platform before us? If we don’t ask these questions (and more depending on what the answers are), it is entirely possible for us to diminish the effectiveness of a highly effective curriculum and its platform.
What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
After solidifying the processes and elements of what will be happening in any given environment, we then meet as a team to review any logistical and safety elements we may have missed. In specific cases (such has having kids or students on site, emergency procedures, or fire-oriented events), we have also involved appropriate authorities on our goals, processes, and current plans to have them review and include anything that should happen or be removed to create a safe environment. This could look like hiring off-duty police officers to help facilitate traffic at high-volume events, to creating a policy for leader-student digital engagement (i.e. no Snapchat- only forms that can be saved and produced if necessary).
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and discipleship pastor?
I am looking for a leader that is chasing after a God-given vision for the Church that they’ve been entrusted to lead. In light of this vision, they are able to paint a clear picture of the ideal future and what my specific role would be in that without micro-managing and with flexibility. I’m looking for a leader who will invest in me as well as lead the team. In light of these things, I believe that the ideal relationship is one that is built upon mutual trust and empowerment with a unity that is clearly visible to the community. I am looking for a leader who will give consistent and strategic reviews as well as celebrate the wins. Overall, it should be a partnership in ministry under the pursuit of the vision that was breathed into the leader of the specific community. A desired highlight would be if this relationship is one where we can sit down as friends over a drink to do real life together.

References

Trevor DeVore || (720) 771-7143 || Trevor.devore@crossroadsabc.com
Brandon Freyta || (303) 883-1125 || brandonf@nhills.org
Tempe Lohmeyer || (720) 837-3711 || Tempe@nhills.org
Spencer Cowen || (720) 323-0177 || spencerc@nhills.org

Favorite Bible Story

The story of David

Favorite Scripture

Hebrews 12:28-29