Tony Myles, a youth pastor in Michigan, e-mailed me last week asking if I’d participate in a survey he wrote for one of his Masters Of Ministry projects at Indiana Wesleyan University. Although it’s pretty long, I thought it worth my time for the sake of thinking through some of the issues and being forced to articulate them for myself. His questions mostly address the issue of relationships between church leaders. They’re pretty thought-provoking and could render any number of appropriate answers. So, I’m curious to hear what you guys have to say. Over the next couple days I’ll post one or two of the questions along with my answers. Feel free to respond with your stories.
When you first understood a calling to ministry, what was it like? What did you naively dream it would look like once you started following God in this way?
My calling to youth ministry came in high school. Although my dad was (is) a pastor, our church did not have a paid youth leader. There were some volunteers that tried to lead events and bible studies from time to time, but nothing that was very effective. I think my brothers and I went more out of obligation.
My excitement for student ministry didn’t come until a leader from Student Venture (the high school division of Campus Crusades for Christ) got me involved in their weekly meetings and outreach events. He decided to take a personal interest in me and had me tag along as he went about his ministry. I remember lunches at fast food restaurants, him teaching me to prepare Bible studies, being trained to share the Four Spiritual Laws, the eventual leadership responsibilities, and before I knew it I had caught his passion for student ministry. His heart for teenagers was clearly very contagious, a passion still follow to this day.
I’m not sure there was ever a point back then when I had a “dream” about youth ministry. It’s been more like a gradual calling that I’ve pursued. The dream has kinda developed as I’ve followed each step through Bible college, knowing the youth ministry professor there, various internships, and seminary. I know that my first impression coming off of Campus Crusades was that I wanted to go into evangelism, but when my college (Philadelphia Biblical University) dropped the program, I switched to the Youth Ministry track since that’s where all my electives where. I wanted to open up my electives to make more room for counseling courses anyway, so it worked out well.
Posted on November 9, 2005