During the summer of 2004 I was on a retreat with my friends’ church on the porch of a house overlooking Canyon Lake in Texas. We sang some songs and their youth pastor led the group in a lesson and some reflection. The lake was placid and the stars reflected in the water so that it looked like we were floating in space. Kids shared some of their struggles and their youth pastor responded with words of grace and encouragement.
In a way that I cannot describe, I felt God calling me to this type of vocation. It’s the moment I recognize God calling me to do youth ministry.
An Indirect Route
The road was a bit rocky. While I was in high school, I remember sitting in Sunday School observing my youth pastor leading our group and thinking, I can see myself doing this as a career. But there were some church politics that turned me off from wanting to work in a church. I was on course to go to college and study web design.
Then I had my lakeside call experience.
Staying on course to go to school for web design, I ended up getting a bachelor’s in communication technology.
But I believe God led me that way on purpose, because while I was in school, I was able to intern for a local church. The youth director there was a huge influence in leading me into vocational youth ministry. He pulled out a flyer from our convention booklet at the National Youth Worker’s Convention in Pittsburg in 2005 and said, “You may want to check this program out.” It was for Fuller’s youth program.
I was on track to start working for the church I attended in college as a full time associate youth director slash web communications guy… but that didn’t pan out. Again, I believe God closed this door in order to get me to Pasadena, California.
I enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary and began a three-year journey earning a Master of Theology in Youth, Family, and Culture. While I was in LA I worked for a church part time (as well as a web designer part time) and had my first experience leading a youth group on my own. I learned more than I could ever have imagined from my hands-on experience and the classroom training.
While I was a student at Fuller, I began my first youth ministry blog at MinistryAllies.com. (The site is still there though it is no longer updated.) I made some great connections with youth ministry bloggers and can’t wait to get back into it.
Back to Texas
After I graduated Fuller I began working for a congregation in San Antonio, TX. I love where I work, I love what I do, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I owe a lot to the men and women that God has put in my life and guided me to where I am today: Jon Thomas, Scott Brewer, Doug Widger, Dawn Gibler, Chap Clark, Kara Powell, Mike DeVito, and Scott Austin. I’m sure there are more, but I owe these veterans who have gone before a lot for investing in me.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. So, what’s yours?