Meet Our New Youth Pastor – part 3

This is the final part of a 3-part interview with Pastor Irving. We look forward to them becoming part of the Bethel family. Continue to pray for them as they conclude their ministry in South Carolina and make the transition to Pennsylvania.

How long have you been involved in youth ministry?
Seven years in the youth pastorate, but I would say in one form or another since God called me to it at the end of my Junior year in high school.

Was there ever a time when you specifically felt called to work with teens?
It was the middle of my junior year in high school.  I was the son of a lay youth pastor / deacon in our church.  I had made a number of bad choices and had been covering my sin for some time.  The Lord had given repentance and restoration through the gracious people in our church but I was also experiencing the well-deserved consequences of my sin.  That year Evangelist Morris Gleiser was preaching at Bob Jones University and  I was there on a college trip.  As he preached to the teenagers with a personal openness and genuine concern for there spiritual well-being, my heart seemed to resonate deeply with his message.  Now experiencing that restored relationship with God and the ever-present cautiousness of not wanting to go back to the life of guilt ridden despair I had this deep desire to encourage others to experience this life with God.  I can still walk to the place in the auditorium where I sat when God called me to preach to teenagers. My desire is to help teenagers find the answers to life’s questions in God and show them that anything else their heart may seem to desire is simply a counterfeit of some good thing that He intended for them to have.  My life verse is 1 Tim. 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”

Name your favorite youth activity.
That one is easy!  CAMP!

Name your favorite food at a youth activity.

Well, let’s see.  The two options are “tube steaks” or pizza!  I’ll go with pizza!

What do you feel are the most important issues facing teenagers today?
Worldliness – giving in to things that feed the flesh rather than purposefully creating a personal environment where you can hear God, enjoy Him and be at peace with Him.

Bitterness – toward God or others about a life circumstance or mistreatment

Peer Pressure – choosing to be approved by others (or be friends with others ) instead of approved by God (or friends with God).

“Goodness” rather than Godliness – considering ourselves to be okay because we are “normal” or above average in the spiritual things we do, rather than having a genuine personal relationship with the Lord that our works flow from.

What are some of your favorite passages of the Bible to preach from to teenagers?
This is a tough one after 7 years of preaching to teens!  But I think these would stand out in my mind.

Gideon – Men of Valor,  Judges 6

Elijah and Elisha – Making God Mine,   2 Kings 2

Mary and Martha  – Leaving a Legacy,  John 12

What is your vision for the youth group in the long-term?
My vision for the youth group is that each individual would be a faithful, Savior-sustained believer who is using his or her gifts and equipping to reach others and teach others for the glory of God.

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