BBQ, Matt Chandler, LifeWay… and Jesus

The following is a guest post from author/speaker David R. Smith after attending The Gospel Project live webcast in Nashville today:

So, I’m finally back in my hotel room, contemplating all I’ve experienced today.

I’ve spent the last 24 hours with the folks at LifeWay Publishing here in Nashville, talking with them about their brand new initiative called The Gospel Project. It’s a multi-generational approach to teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world He loves.

The last few hours have been jam-packed, to say the least. Here are just a few highlights of what we’ve experienced today:

1.      Jack’s BBQ. (Yep, if you know me, then you know I search out the best BBQ in every city I speak/train in around the country.) This restaurant is literally world famous, and sits in the shadows of the attractions in Nashville, just two blocks from LifeWay. (Yeah…I’m probably going back there for dinner!)

2.      Matt Chandler’s sermon/message to Christian leaders: don’t trade Jesus for the idea of Jesus. He encouraged us to not allow ourselves to get so distracted by our work for the Savior that we forget about the joy of personally knowing the Savior. A good word for anybody in ministry, regardless of the kind of ministry it is.

3.      Hanging out with the folks from LifeWay. I really can’t say enough about the kind and gracious people at LifeWay. For the last day and a half, I’ve almost let myself believe I’ve achieved some sort of celebrity status. But that’s just because of the first class treatment I’ve received from them.

4.      Being reminded that the Gospel changes everything.

5.      Meeting up with some terrific youth pastors who use our tools offered by You guys are everywhere! We deeply appreciate what you do for God’s Kingdom, and that you take the time to meet up with us when we travel to your city.

6.      Seeing Peyton Manning’s motorcade pass by while eating BBQ. Yep, he’s in talks with the Titans as I write this. Sorry Denver.

It’s been a great trip. Not only have I had the opportunity to hang out with Matt Chandler, Ed Stetzer, and J.D. Greear all day, but I’ll meet with a few folks from LifeWay’s publishing division tomorrow morning before flying back home to Tampa tomorrow afternoon.

We’ve spent our time together reminding each other that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is far more than behavior modification or a list of moral codes. Further, proclaiming the Gospel is more than just tagging on an altar call at the end of messages. The Gospel is the basis for the Bible’s entire message which focuses on one Hero, Jesus Christ.

I can’t wait to share that message again.

David R. Smith, co-author of Ministry By Teenagers, writes weekly resources and articles for, speaks and trains at camps and events across the U.S…. and eats a whole lot of BBQ in his home city of Tampa, FL.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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One Response to BBQ, Matt Chandler, LifeWay… and Jesus

  1. Howie Snyder says:

    ha – being a Bronco fan, I think that Tennessee is a better fit for Peyton. How many years does he have left, while I am hopefully optimistic about the future of Tebow. If Peyton went to Denver that may have signaled the end of Tebow in Denver.

    Sounds like a great trip – I look forward to hearing more about The Gospel Project.