Want to know more about your Bible Study Leader? The Rev. Joel Lehenbauer shares his favorite bands, pizza toppings, I-Drive restaurant, Bible characters, and more!
Name: Joel Lehenbauer
Where you are from: St. Louis, MO
Years in service: 16 (in current position)
Size of congregation: 700
Favorite pizza toping: Black Olives
Shoe size: 10.5
Role in Gathering: Theological Advisor and Bible Study Leader
+ Is this your first Gathering?
+ Which Gatherings have you been to, and how were you involved?
I served as Theological Advisor and Preacher for Mass Events Worship in 1998 (Atlanta) and helped staff the CTCR booth and led several interest centers in 1995 (San Antonio).
+ Why do you think you were CHOSEN to be a Bible Study leader at the Gathering?
I think it was the result of a behind-the-scenes, back-room conspiracy.
+ What do you hope each participant takes home from your Bible Study at the Gathering?
As they go back into a “real world” that is obsessed with the “freedom to choose,” I hope they will remember that true freedom comes not from “choosing” but from being CHOSEN by God in Christ.
+ How can youth apply CHOSEN in Christ back home?
By thinking about every single choice that they make in terms of being CHOSEN by God in Christ.
+ Favorite Bible character? (other than Jesus!)
+ Favorite restaurant on I-Drive?
+ What’s your favorite food at church potluck?
+ Favorite Bible story (or book of the Bible)?
+ How would you prefer to get to the Gathering—long road trip or quick flight?
Quick flight with peanuts
+ Which of the emcees has the best hair—Leon or Gustavo?
No way I’m getting into the middle of that debate.
+ How does this CHOSEN theme connect to your personal spiritual life?
How many pages do you want? Spending three years reflecting on CHOSEN in 1 Peter and in all of Scripture has transformed my own thinking about who I am, where I’m going, and how I view my daily journey through life with God and others.
+ What kind of congregation did you grow up in?
Mostly large congregations, in urban or suburban areas.
+ Favorite band growing up?
+ Favorite Christian band right now?
Jars of Clay
+ Do you have an iPod? When/where do you use it?
What’s an iPod? (Just kidding — but I don’t have one.)
+ Surely speaking to this many teenagers is a little nerve-wracking! How do you get over stage fright?
I just pretend I’m Victor Belton.
+ What issues do you think young Christians struggle with the most in high school (orcollege)?
Personal identity (Who am I?); “Look-ism” (how you “look” determines your worth and acceptance); “Feel Good-ism” (which feeds addictions, obsessions, and depressions of all kinds); Gismo materialism; Confusion about personal responsibility vs. personal entitlement; peer and societal pressure in which the only “absolute” is that there are no clear absolutes.
+ What’s one piece of advice that every youth needs to hear?
That “one piece of advice” just won’t cut it. Life is much more complicated — and much more interesting and exciting — than that. “Sound-bites” aren’t the answer. A deep and daily faith relationship with the God who has CHOSEN you in Christ is the one and only key to an “abundant life.”