SAGU alumnus mobilizes youth ministry
Waxahachie, Texas — November 8, 2012 — Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus Matt Netzer, youth pastor at St. Charles First Assembly (St. Peters, Mo.), mobilized the Level 5 youth program to begin a community outreach. The students began a car show called The LOT, a ministry that reaches thousands of people every month.
In 2004, Netzer spoke to the Level 5 youth students about evangelism in the community. He says, "I encouraged them to look around the community, identify a need, and find out how to meet it."
Some of the students noticed that the young people in the area liked to gather at the commuter parking lot to show off their cars and hang out. The gatherings would often be broken up by the police or result in street racing. The students proposed a car show at the church parking lot as an alternative.
The Level 5 youth program kicked off The LOT the following May, with a turnout of 50 cars and around 200 people. Over the last several years, the Saturday night turnout has increased from 50 cars to 200-300 cars and from 200 people to 2,000-3,000 people.
In 2008, The LOT won the Christian radio station JOY FM's Game Room Giveaway for best outreach ministry. JOY FM partnered with Watson's to present Level 5 with a game room set including a pool table, foosball table, ping-pong table and arcade games.
Netzer began attending SAGU in the fall of 1997. He graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in church ministries with a specialization in youth ministry.
SAGU professor Garland Owensby impacted Netzer during his time at SAGU. He says, "Professor Owensby went above and beyond to help and teach me. He even took it upon himself to bring me old suits that didn't fit him anymore when I began working my first youth pastoring job."
Owensby says of Netzer, "Matt didn't wait until graduation to jump in to youth ministry and begin serving. This is what the youth and student ministries program at SAGU encourages in our students: ministry training coupled with ministry experience."
Netzer youth pastored at First Assembly of God in Benbrook, Texas, for three years before moving to St. Charles First Assembly of God in 2002. Netzer revamped the St. Charles First Assembly youth program into Level 5, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in Oct. 2012.
Owensby says of Netzer and the Level 5 program, "Matt's relational style is evident. His students love him and his wife Sarah. They have created a safe place for students in the midst of constant change in the culture and in families."
Netzer met his wife Sarah at SAGU. They were married May 5, 2002. They have two children: Lucy, 4, and Micah, 2.
Netzer advises SAGU students to take advantage of college as a time to learn and develop relationships. He says, "Don't just attend college for the degree or the grades, and don't take it all for granted. It goes too quickly."
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.