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.
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Meet Our New Youth Pastor – part 2

Describe your devotions. (What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.?)
With young children at home, my most quality study time with the Lord is spent in the first two hours of the day in my office. I am presently memorizing and meditating on the topic of Anger.  I am utilizing Rand Hummels booklet Turn Away Wrath.  I have made verse cards and try to review every day. I have a list of my teenagers and their parents that I am continually praying through. 

In addition, I started journaling a few years ago.  Journaling has been the most helpful thing that I have added to my time with the Lord.  Following David’s pattern of journaling prayers to God has been a wonderful help to me in my time with the Lord.  Typically holidays give me opportunity to reflect back and read my journal.  It is always overwhelming when I “forget not his benefits.” 

One other thing that I enjoy doing is singing to the Lord.  I’m certainly not a great musician of any sort, singing or otherwise, but I have learned to play guitar a little.  I enjoy singing to the Lord late at night when everyone else is in bed.  Everyone else appreciates that I wait until then too! 

Do you have a spiritual mentor?
Yes, My father is my spiritual mentor.  Pastor Paul Brown, at Bay City Baptist, in Green Bay would be my ministry mentor.  Evangelist Morris Gleiser is a man I greatly admire. 

Who are your spiritual heroes? Why?
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Meet Our New Youth Pastor – part 1

We are excited about having Pastor Irving, his wife, Hannah, and their boys as the newest addition to our pastoral staff. Pastor Irving was kind, during this busy time of transition, to answer some question about he and his family.

How long have you and your wife been married?
8 years  (9 years on May 8th)

How did you and Hannah meet? 
Hannah’s cousin introduced us in the dating parlor at Bob Jones University, just after I SLAMMED her out in a game of round robin (ping-pong).  She was the only girl left in the game.  We might have ganged up on her.  It’s all a bit fuzzy.  It might have been my idea too.  I don’t remember clearly. She said I came across as a total snob. 

Tell us about your children. 
Ethan is 5 and is into anything that involves learning.  He has loved K4 this year.  He is passionate about everything.  He is always “all-out.”  Whether in “minding his mom” or in making mischief he is giving his whole heart!  We keep telling ourselves, “One day he will be strong-willed for Jesus.”  We foresee the move being difficult for him.  He struggles with any kind of change.  But once he makes the turn he will be all about it!

Eric is our sweet smiling sneaky one.  He is almost 4 and is lots of fun.  He is super-photogenic.  While Ethan will often play shy when he meets strangers that’s never the case with Eric.  “Hi everybody!” would be Eric’s attitude with strangers. 

Seth is so much fun right now.  He is 16 months old.  He is learning to walk and trying new words.  He is definitely a people person and generally has a smile for everybody.

Do you have any pets? If not, what kind of pet would you want to have?  Continue reading

Someone I Will Never Forget

Outside of your family, who is someone that made a lasting positive impression on your life?  Who is someone you will never forget? Someone for whom you cannot find adequate words of thanks for the investment made into your life.  For me it is my youth pastor.  We simply called him “Bob” and he drove a red Mazda RX-7.  Maybe we should have called him “Pastor Bob” but “Bob” was what everyone said.

One time at a home Bible study a few of us snuck outside and lifted his car off the ground and positioned it sideways in the driveway.  Strange the memories that come back!  The best memories are how he impacted my life in a dramatic fashion.  It wasn’t one thing but just lots of little touches on my life.  All the preaching formed in me a heart that wanted to love God.  All the activities, jogging with him at McKinley park, breakfast at Burger King before he dropped me off at Jackson High School a few times.  I saw him, I wanted to be used of God, I wanted to invest my life in another generation.

Youth pastors are special.  My assignment here is to introduce you to someone that I believe will become special to us.  In a few short weeks Pastor Vic and Hannah Irving will arrive in PA with their three boys and Pastor Vic will become our next Student Ministries pastor.  We are calling him a Student Ministries pastor because he pastors a broader scope of young people.  All Bethel teens will come to love them I believe.  So will the teens who attend Upper Bucks whether from our church or another ministry.  While teens are under our roof we want to be an encouragement and challenge to them. His heart for young people is evident and also his desire to connect with their families and encourage parents.  I am so thankful to God for His guidance in leading us to the Irving’s.  Join me in praying for them in their transition to Bethel.