Q & A with Take 7 Speaker Tony Leair - Not Your Average Youth Pastor
Tony Leair, this year’s Take 7 speaker, isn’t your average youth pastor – and that’s a great thing!
When he plans youth group events, it may include surfing, beach camping or hiking around some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls. His ministry to teens takes place in Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth largest island!
Even though Tony’s ministry has taken him thousands of miles away from the Midwest, Forest Springs still holds a special place in his heart. As a former camper, counselor and staff counselor, Tony is looking to coming back and sharing God’s truths with junior high students.
We had an opportunity to sit down with Tony and talk to him more about Take 7. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it in person on a Hawaiian beach.
You are in full-time youth ministry in Hawaii. I’m jealous. What’s that like?
Ministry in Kauai is pretty wild. We really focus on adventure and relationship building with the teens I work with. I surf, hike, jump off waterfalls, ride dirtbikes and camp a lot with the kids. While all that is fun, nothing is as good as sharing Christ's love with the teens that are asking life’s big questions!
What gets you excited about working with young people?
I love working with teens because they are just so open. Open to push themselves to new experiences, but also open to hearing about God's meaning for their lives.
You served at Forest Springs before you moved to Hawaii. What do you miss the most?
Yeah! I was a counselor the summer of 2008 and staff counselor in 2009. I miss people the most. I grew up going to camp and have some really special relationships with many of the missionary staff... I miss camp games, camp food, Matt Hoffland’s music, bonfires and bass fishing!
What can parents and junior highers expect in sessions during Take 7?
Parents and kids can expect that were gonna get real about pursuing God. A wonderful, full life comes when God is the center of our universe. We're gonna look at deep characteristics of God and how, through His work, He allows us to live how we are meant to.
It’s Sunday night. Session is over. Where can you be found at camp?
Hayrides. Eating candy.
You are stuck on an island – not Hawaii – a deserted one. What three things would you bring?
I would bring (in order of importance):
1. My Mike Wellman twin fin surfboard
2. A sharp machete for eating and drinking coconuts.
3. My hammock.
Make the case. Why should junior highers come to Take 7?
Take 7 is gonna be epic. It was the first youth camp I went to and it was so fun. The games are gonna be sick, your counselors are super cool and smart, the games are insane and you're going to grow so so so much. And it's at the best camp in the world!
Take 7 is a week of summer camp specifically designed for those in grades 6-8. This year, Take 7 will be held June 28th-July 4th. Click here to learn more about Take 7 or to register.
Need assistance in paying for camp? Forest Springs has a generous scholarship program. Learn more about it here.