Tag Archives: teenagers


Change!  One thing is for certain—we live in a world of change.  The last time I came to Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport (only a couple of weeks ago), the orange barrels that cover Michigan’s roads and freeways every summer, were in certain places, but someone changed them, and today they are somewhere else.  (Perhaps the only thing that doesn’t seem to change very much is the long-term condition of Michigan’s infrastructure!)

Normally I blitz right through the TSA Pre-Check, but today, that changed, too!  They apologized and then proceeded to “pat down” my blazer and my body before complimenting my brass blazer buttons and cuff links.  I was stunned that they didn’t compliment my body … but that has changed, too, through the years!

Clearing TSA, I headed for my “office” at On-Line Café, only to realize that has changed, too, and according to the temporary wall’s advertisement, that is becoming something else and a little more up-scale, I suppose in keeping with the P.F. Chang’s across the concourse.

Thankfully, the National Coney Island is still located across from Gate A47, and they still have the Sander’s hot fudge cream puff!  At last!!!  Something that didn’t change! Somethings just ought not change—like that dessert.  A few years ago, America elected a president who promised “Hope and Change,” but I’m hoping America will change back … to the principles and values that once made us a great nation, and invoked the favor of The Almighty, of whom our Founding Fathers often spoke and wrote.

However, some things need to change, and that’s the reason I am out-bound today, heading back to England and Wales.  On Sunday, I speak for a wonderful congregation near Cardiff, South Wales … with the hope that the preaching often deemed foolishness in our world today, will yield a harvest of people who experience a newfound belief that manifests the power of God unto salvation.

Then we’re off to mid-Wales for a week of camp—LIFT-UK 2015, operated by LIFT Student Ministries and my dear friend and ministry partner Dan Brown.  One thing we can always expect to experience during the week is change!  For seven years we’ve watched God change the lives of young people and adults alike!  And that’s a change worth making!

It’s also that kind of hope and change that keeps this guy going after all these years and miles!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in praying that God’s Holy Spirit will do His work in the lives of each person who attends?  You may never know this side of Heaven the specific answers to those prayers, but my experiences of more than four decades testify to the power of God to change lives for His glory!

Right now, however, I thing I’d better head for Gate A60—just in case there has been a gate change! <sigh>



Seed Sowing Still

As I write, it is from the rather typical “airport office,” since I will be back in the air in a few minutes—outbound once again for England and Wales. Although I am excited about the ministry opportunities in which I will be engaged, it’s the LIFT-UK 2014 camp that pushes my button, because it’s still all about young people!

However, before camp opens on Monday, I have some personal planning/strategy meetings with prospective ministry partners Friday night and Saturday. Early Sunday morning, I head to Huntington (Cannock area of the Midlands) and speak for the Hope Baptist Church, meeting in the Huntington Community Centre, with Pastor Ian Hutchings and his wife Marie.

These two friends have influenced as many young people for Christ as anyone I know! Because of them, dozens of young people have come to faith in Christ, especially during camps over the last six years. Knowing that, you can appreciate my anticipation of another week of camp, operating at the Cefn Lea Conference Centre on the hills above Newtown, Powys, Wales.

Seven years ago, my long-time friend Dan Brown, founder of LIFT Student Ministries, and I partnered together to reach young people in the UK. Dan and his marvelous and energetic staff carry to load year after year. I believe that we are sowing seeds for a crop of Christians that will produce fruit that remains long after Dan and I are “loooooong gone,” in the words of the late Ernie Harwell, famed announcer for the Detroit Tigers.

BTW, do you pray? If so, would you join the LIFT-UK staff, other church leaders, and me in asking God to show Himself strong and mighty in the lives of young people in the UK once again. We expect that many will come to faith in Christ, and we also anticipate most others to take significant steps forward in spiritual growth.


Dale on Coronado (CA)

Dale on Coronado (CA)

Another Great Opportunity!

In the midst of global Christian history, some of the richest comes to us from Europe, and especially England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  Like any fire, the fuel must be continually kept on the fire for it to maintain its light and warmth.  At times, what was once a great lighthouse to the world, the light from the British Isles has grown dim, but there has always been a faithful remnant, so that the light has never gone out.

From John Knox in the 1600s, to the Wesley’s of the 1700s, and great voices of each century since, the light has shone brightly.  And I’m of the mind that God is not finished with His wondrous works to the children of men amongst these British Isles today.

Somehow, I believe that He can raise up yet another prayer warrior like George Mueller, godly mother like Susannah Wesley, or prince of preachers like Spurgeon—and that it could just happen at any time.  It is with this hope in mind that I anticipate the closing camp of the 2011 camping season in Great Britain! 

LIFT-UK 2011 begins Monday, 08 August, where I have the privilege to address the leadership team just before registration opens at Cefn Lea Park, Newtown, Wales.  All week long, I will walk and work amongst the campers, praying by name for each one who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to accept Him as Savior this week.  I will also pray that those who know Him already will consider presenting themselves, individually, as living sacrifices for His service.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join me in these prayers?  Since the “fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” we can expect God to answer and do great works in human hearts and lives of young people as a result of serious prayer. 

However, those are not my only requests.  Please pray, too, that God would do an eternal work in the lives of the American young people who are partnering with us through LIFT Student Ministries.  Over the last 40+ years of ministry, I’ve witnessed more than 65 young people make that life-long decision for vocational ministry service as a result of their short-term mission involvement.  My petition is that God would do it again through this group of dedicated young workers.

Well, the all-too-familiar intercom voice is calling me to my plane.  Cheers!


Strange, isn’t it—how we can so easily develop misconceptions about almost anything, especially people, and especially in the ministerial world?

 For years I’ve heard how “impossible” (or at least very difficult) it is to reach the young people of Great Britain or Europe with the Gospel.  However, as I sit here in my usual “office” at Frankie and Benny’s at the Birmingham (England) airport, awaiting a flight to France, and reflecting on last week’s youth camp at Cefn Lea Park in Newtown, Powys (Wales), I’m not sure that I how accurate the assessment of others has been. 

Let me explain. 

Four years ago roughly, Dan Brown of LIFT Student Ministries, along with one of his board members Ben Robinson, accompanied me on a whirlwind exploratory excursion to Great Britain.  Dan has operated a growing number of “LIFT Camps” in the eastern half of American for several years—and quite successfully.  In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I spoke for one of Dan’s camps, even before he called them “LIFT!” in Monticello, Kentucky.  (How could I ever forget that camp, because they had more frogs hopping around the property than were in the plagues of Egypt!  Of maybe it’s my guilt for encouraging several of the campers to collect dozens of frogs and put them in his father Harold’s room that I remember.)

 Somehow, I felt that if I could get Dan here to see what I was seeing in the potential of reaching young people for Christ—and it worked!  Few men (or women) that I know share the level of burden or passion for young people that my friend Dan Brown has.  I see it and sense it increasingly.

Our first year camp was actually quite small—but the results of young people coming to faith in Christ as their Savior were quite large!  I also remember thinking that it was the toughest youth camp that I’d ever been involved with, simply because of the behavior of my of the young people who attended.  Several of them came to us from social services, and were known to be “problem teenagers.”  But we loved them, and I think they sensed that, and responded accordingly.

The second year of LIFT-UK the numbers climbed in every way.  An impact for Christ was growing—and the impact was affecting young people from not only Europe, but also on the American college-aged staff of LIFT … and on me!  Many of the first-year campers returned and the spiritual growth in them was self-evident.  Once again by week’s end, many campers had made significant commitments to God for salvation, holy living, and Christian service.

This year the groundswell continued with even greater evidence.  First, we jointly operated LIFT-UK 2010 with the BBF-GB youth camp, a collection of ministry partner churches scattered around Great Britain, but representative campers also came from other European countries.  In the analysis of the executive director of Cefn Lea Park, this was the largest gathering of a group of Christian teenagers in the history of the conference centre!

At times the crowd noise was almost deafening, especially when you have nearly 300 campers and staff all assembled in the dining room, everyone talking, laughing, dishes clattering, etc.!  And to listen and watch this crowd in action during the praise and worship time was almost beyond description—especially if one is expecting the misconception to be the reality!

And the behavioral difference over a three year period is also notable.  While are a couple of layers of workers between me and the campers these days, I do believe that this was the most well-behaved crowd to-date.  The difference that Christ makes in the spiritual lives is readily seen from one year to the next.  The pastors and other Christian workers were all abuzz with excitement with the spiritual advancements!

While I can’t say that the volume of decisions made by young people coming to faith in Christ, surprised me, I must admit that it just doesn’t fit the misconception.  What did arrest my attention was that on opening night, rather than somewhat typically closing night, most of the young people who accepted Christ as their personal Savior during did so that first night!  By the closing assembly on Friday morning, 42 teenagers had come to faith!

But that isn’t all—great as that is!

At the conclusion of his Thursday evening message, my friend Ed Trinkle, speaker for the week who did a masterful job of connecting with the audience, plainly asked all from the audience who were ready to say to God, “I’ve been allowing you to speak to my heart and I’m now ready to ‘lay it all down’ and serve you full time for the rest of my life,” to stand to their feet, then come and gather in front of the stage for special instructions, prayer, and then counsel.

I was in tears as I stood at the top level of the auditorium and counted 76 teenagers standing in front of that stage in response to Ed’s clear instructions!  When it was all sorted, and the individual counseling was concluded, 40 young people had truly committed themselves to ministry and service for Christ!

That kind of scene, with that kind of result, just doesn’t fit the misconception that so many in kingdom work have.  Each of us who have been a part of this new phenomenon believes that we are on the leading edge of a new wave of the working of God amongst the young people and churches of Great Britain!  And we’re witnessing it firsthand!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you join several of us praying for the 42 teenagers who are new believers as they return to their homes and friends?  We understand the spiritual battle that will surely take place in their hearts and minds.  Several of them will certainly struggle in the months to come as they decide daily whether to follow the old life or the new.

Would you also pray for the 40 young people who committed their lives to service for the King of Kings?  They too will be waging war to live out that which they committed on that closing night of LIFT-UK 2010.

Finally, would you pray that the Lord would continue to use me in leaving a lasting impact on an entire movement of God to reach young people in Europe?  There aren’t a lot of 60-year-olds who still pursue a vision aggressively in youth ministry—but I’m asking that you pray for one—me!

And to those individuals, pastors, and churches who invested financially and prayerfully through our ministry, you can know that your investment has yielded history-making and eternal results!  Thank you!


When A Plan Comes Together

Almost four years ago I ran into a long time friend, Dr. Leland Kennedy, at a national conference in Detroit.  Leland gave me a big bear hug and said, “It’s so good to see you, Dale!  We were just talking about you two days ago over in Ireland.”  That conversation was the beginning of a fresh focus on ministry for me, as it turns out! 

Fast forward to 9 August 2010.  I have no clue where Leland Kennedy is this morning, but I’m sitting in my room near Cefn Lea Park, a camping/conference centre just south of Newtown, Wales.  Last night we opened what is our largest youth camp to-date with nearly 400 total in attendance.  My dear friend Dan Brown and his staff from LIFT Student Ministries is running the show, and another good friend, Ed Trinkle, is our main speaker.  The energy in the auditorium on opening night was “a mile high,” and in a culture where so many say “It can’t be done” we’re seeing it happen, right before our eyes.  At least 25 young people came to faith in Christ in the very first service!

As the adage from the old television show “The A-Team” goes, I love it when a plan comes together!

This journey into the UK actually began in the winter of 1978-79, when I brought a team of singers from Liberty University to England and Scotland.  One of the young men on the team, Dale Brown, is now the pastor of West Shore Baptist Church in Llandudno, Wales.  Reacquainting ourselves over the past weekend was such a delight for me as I witnessed that God has done something special through Dale Brown … and to think that maybe–just maybe–God used me in some small way in his life 30 years ago!  And to see Dale Brown in action with his congregation last Sunday caused me to say to myself, I love it when a plan comes together!

Dale Brown and Dale Peterson 2010

As I stood with the hundreds of young people and youth leaders in the opening service of LIFT-UK 2010 last night, listened to the singing and observed the response of the audience, I said to myself once again, I love it when a plan comes together!

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray that miraculous events will take place this week in this camp.  Somehow, I just believe that since God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, if we ask Him, He would draw dozens and dozens of young people to His salvation before we close camp Friday.  Then as ministry partners, we could all say that we love it when a plan comes together!

One closing thought–what part will you play today in God’s plan today?  Will it be a role that through the years you, too, can see that in the little acorns of service you plant for Him today, you will one day see mighty oaks, and say to yourself, I love it when a plan comes together?


More for the Kingdom

Once again, I sit in an airport – Amsterdam’s Schiphol, hurriedly typing a note to update ministry friends and partners on what is happening recently.  Hurry as I might, I know this will not get out to until I am in Amsterdam, or even back in Detroit, but I wanted to share the latest news with you.

Two weeks ago, in our BBF-GB camp in Cefn Lea Park (Wales), with approximately 144 campers total, we were privileged to see 15-17 campers come to place their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  Due to other responsibilities, I was not at the camp for the closing ceremonies on Friday morning, and I have been given two different numbers.  However, on their own testimonies, at least 15 young people came to faith in Christ.

After a brief visit with my middle son Jordan in Oxford, where he has been working this summer at Oxford University, my journey took me back northward to Huntingdon-Alconberry, where I was privileged to spend time with Carol and Jose Esquibel and the wonderful congregation of their labors.  I truly anticipate future ministry opportunities with this gracious family.  Their immaculate church complex is located across the street from the Alconberry Royal Air Force base, and it was truly a pleasure to interact with both RAF military personal as well as a few American families who serve on the same base, some as DOD contractors.

Following the morning services and a wonderful noon meal in the Esquibel home, I raced back to the White House, where Dan Brown and the LIFT-UK 09 team had already settled in.  After a day of rest for them, we headed northwest to Cloverley Hall Christian Conference Centre and the LIFT-UK 09 camp.  These camps focus primarily on evangelism, and we were not disappointed in the results!  The spirit of God was self-evident in less than 48 hours, and by the closing of the camp Friday morning, 30 young people became Christ followers.  But it didn’t end there!

I just received word a few minutes ago from Dan Brown, who spent the night last night in the Birmingham area near the airport to catch earlier flights, that another young man had accepted Christ as Savior after camp was over, and over the telephone!

Fifteen teenagers one week, and thirty-one young people another – a total of 46 new heavenly-bound people … because you prayed and invested financially.  Somehow, at the end of the day, that all seems to me like a wise investment of our lives and financial resources.  Thanks for being a part of it, even by proxy.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you now pray for these young believers?  Would you also pray for those pastors and Christian leaders in the area churches who have the awesome privilege of following through with discipleship?  Would you also pray as we endeavor to multiply the number of camps in the next few years?  Imagine the impact for the kingdom!

Got to run catch that flight now!  Cheers!

It’s Been A While

Well, it’s been a while, but here I sit in my “On-Line Cafe office” at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport, waiting on NW 48 to Amsterdam.  It’s been a while (too long) since I traveled this route, via AMS, to Birmingham, England.  Perhaps money and scheduling are common problems for many of us these days.

Tomorrow morning when I land in the West Midlands region of England, I’ll be met by my friend Damian Pickett, who is a wonderful ministry partner, along with his precious wife Ruth Ann.  They exemplify what it means to have the heart of servants.  I always anticipate the time we get to spend together.  Damian is the lead pastor of the Kingsmead Church, whose building was originally built in the 1700s as a preaching station for none other than John Wesley.  I’m always thrilled to speak there (as I will this Sunday), and thrilled to know that three centuries after Wesley preached there, the Gospel is still being heralded from that specific location.  Not all historic church builds have faired as well – some even destroyed or converted in Islamic Training Centers.

Next week is our first week of camp with the Baptist Bible Fellowship Churches of Great Britain – and is always a productive time.  In recent years, this camp has always encouraged my personal prayer life and cultivated my love and passion for young people even further.  Every day, I walk several miles in the Cannock Chase National Forest, praying by name for young people who should place their faith in Christ.  During the evening services, I also pray, and what a joy it is to hear the reports each morning as leaders share who has accepted Christ as Savior the evening prior!  I then draw a line under their names, and then pray with thanksgiving for each of them as I pray through my list each morning on my walks.

BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray each morning specifically for the young people who will attend these camps over the next three consecutive weeks?  It may very well be your prayers that God would answer that makes an eternal difference.

The following week, my friend Dan Brown and the LIFT Student Ministries team will return for the second year.  We anticipate going over the 100-mark this year.  Again, please pray that many teenagers will come to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

Finally, please pray for the churches who will follow-up on the new converts in a timely manner.

Well, time to close up “the office” and make that long walk to the gate A56 at McNamara Terminal.  From here, I think it’s a country mile (at least at this time of evening), but the walk will do me well.  I’m sure there will come a time during the 8-hour night flight, sitting in that Airbus A 330 seat, that I’ll wish I was taking a long walk!


New Ministry Opportunities

In spite of the fact that the world economy really stinks and times are tough, ministry opportunities abound. Let me share one such opportunity that we’re seizing in the next few weeks and with which I could use the help of our ministry friends worldwide.

Beginning April 15th, we’re making our initial foray into the public schools of Great Britain by conducting five high school assemblies in North Wales. These events are a strategic step in evangelizing the youth culture of the United Kingdom and connecting young people with local churches for baptism and discipleship. My prayer is that many of them will also be called of God into vocational ministry and receive their formal Bible college training at the Baptist Bible College of Great Britain.

My dear friends Rick and Mick Vigneulle, who have conducted high school assemblies in America for almost three decades – a program currently called Attitude Check – will be joining me as we partner with various local ministries in North Wales in April. Last summer during a week of youth camp, the Lord greatly used Rick and Mick to impact the participants and the teenagers loved them, their music, and their humor. Our prayer is that the impact will grow to several thousand young people who have no relationship with any church at all, and that many of them will come to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

Would you consider partnering with me in prayer and in financial support? I’m not asking for a long-term, monthly commitment of support (though I am currently operating with only 30% of the monthly support that I need personally), but rather a one-time investment to help in one of the following ways.

Each high school assembly will cost at least $1200USD. Could you, your church, Sunday School class, company, or organization underwrite the cost of one high school assembly? At least one pastor in New York contacted me to say that his church could not give $1200, but would invest $600. Thankfully, it all adds up at the end of the day.

After all the assemblies have been conducted, we’re planning to bring all the students together for a regional pizza blast, which could cost up to $20,000USD with the facility rental, equipment rental, food, drinks, and paper goods. This is the critical evangelist thrust that can yield hundreds of young people coming to Christ. I need financial help for this event quickly, since it is only a few weeks away.

All of these young people will also be invited to attend a summer youth camp, which offers further evangelistic possibilities, as well as follow-up for many who became Christ-followers at earlier functions. However, most of them cannot afford the $250USD—but many American churches could sponsor one or more young people for a week of camp in 2009. My friend Dan Brown and LIFT Student Ministries is returning to the UK to partner annually with us to conduct these camps.

Please let me know that you will help in some way. (Instructions for making your contribution appear below.) I’m starting to sweat this thing—and I hate that feeling—because the first events are only six weeks away! Thanks for any financial investment you can make, and certainly for all the prayers!

And, BTW, do you pray?  If so, would you pray for three specific things please? First, pray that the Lord will supply all the funds that are required to make these strategic evangelistic events happen. Second, please pray that the logistics will come together as we approach our first high school assemblies. The volume of details is staggering. Third, join me in praying that as hundreds of teenagers hear the Gospel, many of them for the first time in their young lives, that many of them will be prepared to put their faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

As you can easily see, this isn’t about me – it’s about the spiritual future of untold thousands of other people! Thanks in advance for your prayers and financial investment!


Checks for these events should be made payable to GOSPEL ALIVE, INC., a Michigan-based 501(c)3 ministry through which all our projects funds are handled, and mailed as quickly as possible to: Gospel Alive, Inc., 200 Woodstone Road, Waterford, MI 48327.


Facing The New Year

The holidays, as great as they were, are now behind us, and the details, responsibilities, and travel schedule is hitting with a vengeance. I love it! But let me get right to the point of this update—I need your help!


First, you’ll see the urgent need for prayer as I highlight the key events for this year. In April, we’re making our first fore into the public schoolsin the United Kingdom. My friends Rick and Mick Vigneulle are partnering with me to make inroads to the youth culture through the schools, followed by pizza blasts. These events will also help “feed” our summer youth camps as well.


Second, summer youth camps will come upon us quickly. Please pray for this fruitful time as we conduct or help with five camps this summer, of which two will be for “street kids.” I use that term affectionately to contrast these two camps with the other three, since the three are church camps, and the majority of the young people attending those are already Christ followers. Last summer in our pilot “street kids” camp, only 3 young people out of 60 came to camp as believers—but 31 accepted Christ as their Savior during that camp!


Third, in the fall of this year, we’re adding a retreat for teenagers, re-enlisting as many of the campers from the summer camps as possible, in order to fan the flames that were ignited during July and August.


While I will not belabor all the details of making these critical events happen, I do want to ask you and your church for financial help, in addition to your prayers. Each school assembly costs $1200. Could you sponsor one assembly? A single pizza blast can cost up to $20,000—but hundreds of teenagers come to Christ each year through these events. Would you help make one pizza blast a reality? One camper can attend a week of camp for $250. Unsaved British teens do not want to spend their money on youth camp, but they will come if it’s available to them at no charge. Would you sponsor one (or more) camper? A young believer can attend the retreat for $125—but most can’t afford it. Would you make a financial investment to help grow a potential champion for Christ?


The camping season is several months away; however, the high school assemblies are only weeks away. I’m devoting my energies over the next six months to securing the funding necessary to make these events a reality. Please let me know that you will partner both through your fervent prayers as well as your generous investment in that which will outlive us both—the eternal souls of young people.


Through our combined efforts on the outside and the Holy Spirit’s working on the inside, we can make an eternal impact on a nation that was once a great gospel lighthouse to the world, but one groping in darkness and in need of the light today.


            Thank you for your partnership with us in ministry-developing tomorrow’s leaders today.


 P.S. In order to maintain the integrity of contributions, we ask that all regular monthly personal support be routed to our account at Central Missionary Clearinghouse (address below). Gifts to sponsor campers, high school assemblies, and pizza blasts should be sent to Gospel Alive, Inc., a Michigan-based 501(c)3 established for the purpose of global evangelism and discipleship. Thank you for helping us make and maintain this distinction of funds.



Central Missionary Clearinghouse

Peterson-Great Britain

P. O. Box 219228

Houston, TX 77218-9228


 Gospel Alive, Inc.

200 Woodstone Road

Waterford, MI 48327