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Student Ministry Update

As we recently said goodbye to our Student Minister, Lawrence Klingsheim, and commissioned him and Ashley for their new ministry in Minnesota, we wanted to update you on our student ministry leadership transition heading into 2016.

Leadership Plan for the Winter and Spring

We’re thankful to announce that all of our current volunteer leaders will continue to serve our students into the winter and spring. Chris Hatfield will be teaching our high school Sunday School class; Brian Mathes will be teaching the middle school class. And Doran and Christina Abel will be leading Student Night on Friday nights, with teaching help from John Cuozzo.
That said, we are looking for some additional volunteer help for Student Night, and especially for leading discipleship small groups for both male and female students. It’s a great opportunity to invest in our young people with the love, truth, and hope of the gospel. If you are interested in learning more about those opportunities, please contact Doran Abel (dcrabel @ or Pastor Bruce (PastorBruce @

Coming in May: Travis Vaclavik, our new Student Minister

travis and jessica picWe are also excited to announce that the Lord has provided a new Student Minister for us: Travis Vaclavik. Travis currently serves as the Pastor of Student Ministries at Washington Avenue Christian Church in Amarillo, TX. He and his wife Jessica will be moving to the area in May of 2016, where he will begin working at Westgate and studying for his M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Travis and Jessica have been married for three years. He has been involved with youth ministry leadership at Washington Avenue for nine years, the past four as full-time youth pastor. He brings a wealth of youth ministry experience, including personal discipleship and mentoring, planning and teaching for midweek student nights and weekly Sunday School classes, leading short-term mission trips and student retreats, organizing a summer camp for several area churches, training interns, and leading a team of staff and volunteers.

More than anything, Travis and Jessica are committed to a vision of discipleship shaped by the gospel. They are passionate about sharing their lives and opening God’s Word together with students, that the gospel might bear real and lasting fruit in and through our youth.

I have personally known them for three years, and have had the opportunity to see their ministry to students up close. Our elders and most of our current student ministry leaders also had a chance to meet them this past summer. I can’t tell you how excited I am for them to become part of our Westgate family.

But we want you all to have a chance to meet them too. So even though they don’t move here until May, they will be in town January 8-11 so parents and students can begin getting to know them, and so they can begin looking for housing in the area. There will be several opportunities to connect with them over the weekend:


  • 6pm: Pizza dinner with parents and students
  • 7pm: Student Night


  • 10:30 am: Worship Service (Travis will share his life story)
  • 12:00 pm: Coffee hour following the service
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch with the Vaclaviks (location TBD)

Once they arrive, Travis will work approximately 15 hrs/wk with our students during his studies at GCTS. Upon graduation, we are hopeful that God will open a door for Travis and Jessica to remain with us on a full-time basis, and invite you to pray with us to that end.

Please continue to prayer for Lawrence and Ashley in their new ministry, and now for Travis and Jessica as they conclude their ministry in Amarillo and prepare to move here. And please continue in prayer for our students—that their hearts would be captivated by the beauty and sufficiency of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, anchored in his Word, and overflowing in love for God and others.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. 

Your partner in the gospel,
Pastor Brandon