The Source for Youth Ministry

Cool Conversations/Interviews

Interview With Bo Boshers
Director of Student Ministries at Willow Creek
October 31, 2000

I got a chance to spend some time with Bo after a presentation he did on a new training curriculum that is HOT!!! Bo has a great heart and we can learn a lot from him. Enjoy this peek into more than just his ministry and his passion . . . but his personal life.

JONATHAN: Bo, thanks for giving me this time to get to know you better. To start off, how old are you and how long have you been in ministry?

BO: Um, let's see, I've been in ministry for 23 years. I'm 47 and I've been at Willow Creek for about 12.

JONATHAN: Awesome. Willow Creek- let's face it- most imitated, most duplicated church in . . . probably the whole world. How do you keep from getting a big head and going "I'm the man!"

BO: You know what, I mean, there's no doubt, there's some exciting things going on here at Willow Creek. It's obvious what God is doing. But I think for me personally, uh, I just remember where I came from. I mean, sincerely, I know how much I need God's grace and forgiveness and I'm just blown away to be a part of this thing. You know, just every time I drive to work it's like, "God thank you for letting me do this." I mean I love waking up to come to work. So it's just a matter of me just staying in touch with my own relationship with Christ. I think when you lose that- you can get prideful or forget why you do what you do.

JONATHAN: Cool, now are you in an accountability relationship- someone to help remind you of that stuff.

BO: I got a team- a small group- a couples small group and I absolutely love those guys and girls- so there's a really strong accountability there and I have a mentoring relationship as well.

JONATHAN: That's great. Now I was just in that session you did. I heard your passion- you said you love "training and equipping like-minded men and women to reach out and become a contagious Christian." "Like minded men and women"- I like that. Can you expand on that?

BO: Well you know I think that what I found over the years is that some of the frustrations out there is that whenever you try to unite people together that often there are things that become frustrations or obstacles in front- like when guys or girls that I found in leadership meetings would leave saying, "you know, we could never do that!" or "we do it differently!" And so there'd be some frustration. They'd come together- they want to make a big difference but it seems like everyone is going in a different direction. So our prayer is to find "like-minded" men and women- not in the sense that you do everything the exact same way, but "like minded" is that we are going to agree together- you know- on these values and principles. We're going to agree together that we really need to reach and lead a generation together for Christ and become fully devoted followers and we come together and agree with these principles and values such as evangelism- we're going to evangelize. So that's how we kind of do the "like minded" piece.

JONATHAN: And it sounds like with your new web site you're going to kick off some things you really have a heart to do- basically joining together people with similar visions and similar passions.

BO: That's right.

JONATHAN: That's great. Hey- just getting to know you personally- it's fun for all of us youth workers to get to know you personally- you've shared about your passion and ministry- but how does that carry on with you personally, outside of your ministry?

BO: I think that question gets down to, "how can we be authentic in the passion God's given us." And I think that experiencing God daily- that's what it comes down to. And for me, I guess there's a lot of things going on, but what's happened with my brother recently has effected me the most. When I was growing up I didn't become a Christian until I was 27 and so during that time I was trying to fill a void like we all try to do and whatever the world turns to- that's what I did. Whether it was getting high or relationships, whatever. None of my family were Christians during that time. I think back- I remember my brother. I was the first one to get him high actually.

Then I came to know Christ. My brother, however, continues down that road and becomes and addict and an alcoholic. So, I've been praying for him for over 20 years now. And what was amazing was, just recently, he called my sister who's out in California. He knew that he was having a tough time and his life was falling apart and the drugs were killing him. And he asked my sister if he could come home. Obviously she said yes. But she said, "The only thing Andy. . ." His name's Andy. ". . . is that you're going to have to stay straight." You know, so he decided to come out, get sober and during that time he goes to the hospital and find out he actually has lung cancer. And so, they don't know the extent of it. They know they have to remove a lung. And so I was praying, "Lord, you've got to open the door for me." and "What is happening here?" So I invited him out to Chicago, cause he's never been here and never really been interested in the ministry I do here at the church. And so, anyway, he came out here to a service and we came back to my house. During that time I shared one more time what the Gospel was all about and God just opened his heart and he heard it! And so he received Jesus right there and it was just a powerful moment. And then we were praying together and he came back to me and said "how are people to know about this?" which fired me up all the more to say "Lord, I'm going to share you as clear as I can to all those around me. And so, that kind of kept me on the front lines most recently to see God, you know, interested in my brothers life- it was just a powerful experience.

JONATHAN: Wow. So not just teaching others to share Christ but doing it yourself. And Wow, how much more personally than ...

BO: ... my brother.

JONATHAN: ... your brother. That is awesome.

Switching gears here- what do you do for fun or to relax? What's the real Bo look like when he's out with family or friends.

BO: You know I still coach and I've always been a coach...

JONATHAN: What do you coach?

BO: Football. So, that really is my activity that I love. So I enjoy coaching, I enjoy working out and all that- but it's all a part of being on a high school campus and coaching. It really does give me life, you know, instead of draining.

JONATHAN: That's great.

BO: And, you know, probably the number one thing for me certainly is my family. Why relationship with my two kids and my wife.

JONATHAN: Where do you go- what do you do?

BO: We're all into sports quite a bit. I coach my little guy. He's 12 and he's in Falcons, youth football. My daughters in all kinds of sports.

JONATHAN: Favorite movie?

BO: Favorite movie ... well actually I would say ... I just saw the football movie that's out ... The Titans (Remember the Titans).

JONATHAN: The new Denzel flick.

BO: That rocked. Have you seen it?

JONATHAN: Not yet- plan to with the wife tomorrow. (I did and it DID ROCK! Best flick dealing with racism in years- and based on a true story!)

BO: That is a good movie. I just saw it with my little guy.

JONATHAN: I thought it looked good and I wondered if it was.

BO: It is awesome, I think. It has a good story to it plus it has football ... so you got to go see the Titans.

JONATHAN: So you think it wipes the socks of Jerry McGuire and others?

BO: It's right in there. I agree. It's right in there.

JONATHAN: Okay. Now what's your favorite web site. I know you're about to launch yours- but what do you find yourself on?

BO: You know I'm on a lot- I don't know if I could just pick one. We just build ours, as you know, "the net." And so we've been doing a lot of research out there. So I was out asking people all over, "where should I look up." and I saw a lot- I don't think there was any one.

JONATHAN: Okay. Cool. Now I just saw your Becoming a Contagious Christian YOUTH EDITION video series, and I can tell you, I've been looking through every training video I can get my hands on for the last few years. I'm always looking for good training resources. I can tell you with absolute integrity, that is the best video series I've seen. Obviously you're excited about it. Tell us about it.

BO: I am. I am. You know I think ... it's the best work I've ever been a part of. I mean I'm that excited about it because it has the potential to really train this generation to be effective in sharing Christ. And I think it does it in a way that's relevant. I think teaches them how to be bold and confident. And we tried very hard to lay video down where students could see themselves and kind of say, I can do that!" You know and it's done in a relationship. The key is relational evangelism and then the curriculum itself is written in such a way that what I think has been missing in the curriculum for evangelism is there's not a place where we say "okay we really are going to practice this or work at this."


BO: And it does it, again, in a way with friendships and relationships in small groups.

JONATHAN: That's great. And you think that most people, like these overwhelmed youth workers who are trying to run jr. high, high school, college and more- if they got this series, they'd be able to train their youth with it.

BO: Absolutely. That was our target. To be able to put a resource in the hands of those who, you know, maybe aren't full time in ministry or can't write their own or even full time guys- so they have a tool that they say "this works."

JONATHAN: And where can they get this resource.

BO: It's published by Zondervan and it will be out in November.

JONATHAN: Great. So it will be in Christian book stores ...

BO: Oh yeah, it will be in book stores, on line if you want,

JONATHAN: Awesome. Well, thanks for your heart and thanks for sharing with us- we appreciate that.

BO: Excellent. Thanks man.

To order or inquire about this curriculum call (800) 570-9812