Dr. Jerry Johnston Interviews Jay Strack

Dr. Jay Strack is the author of several books and the founder of Student Leadership University. The mission of SLU is to develop and equip student leaders to think, dream and lead. Visit

Dr. Jay Strack, longtime evangelist and founder of Student Leadership University, visited with Dr. Jerry Johnston, VP of Innovation and Strategic Marketing for Houston Baptist University, about his faith story and founding an outreach for student leaders.

After experiencing the life-altering power of Jesus, Strack spoke to students in an estimated 10,000 high school assemblies over the course of two decades. Then, a turning point in his ministry came when Billy Graham asked Strack a simple question: who would carry on Strack’s ministry after him?

“From that moment on, I had four or five guys who would go with us,” Strack said. Strack realized the value of developing leaders of the faith and not only followers. He envisioned inspiring promising youth and the church workers who discipled them.

“Bigger was better in my mind, but all of a sudden I was hearing a heart cry,” Strack said. “I said, ‘We’re going to come up with a solution.’ What could I do that the Lord has called me to do that maybe not everyone is doing?”

The idea of investing in youth led to the development of Student Leadership University. Student participants in SLU 101 through 401 explore how to think, dream, lead and serve with the Gospel at the forefront through life-changing trips. Students have an introduction to the program in a US city during their first year, visit Washington, DC the second year, visit major world cities including London, Oxford, Normandy and Paris the third year, and travel to Israel and Jordan during the fourth year.

SLU outreaches include Lift Tours that teach teens to live for Christ and Youth Pastor Summits that help equip youth leaders. The concept of SLU is unique among ministries, and has made an indelible difference for those involved. “We want to be a game-changer,” Strack said.

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