Throughout the interview process, Derick wrote responses to several questions. Get to know his outlook on ministry through some of his responses below:
The primary reason Derick wants to work with youth is because he wants to impact them. He sees the mistakes that teens make as significant, given where they’re at in their brain development, and helping them through the choices they need to make and guiding them to prevent harm is invaluable.
Derick is excited to work with all the middle and high school students. Here is a response to what his favorite thing is about each age group and what he thinks is the most important thing they need:
Grades 7 & 8
Favorite Thing: They’re not to cool for school and they’re crazy and fun. For most of them they’re willing to be energetic.
What They Need: They’re beginning to think abstractly and they can learn skills and core truths of the gospel. Then, they can begin to figure out how to apply that. They need to be given some freedom to search and investigative these things.
Grades 9 & 10
Favorite Thing: They are well into their teen years now and they’re “beyond” the craziness. They are trying to find their identity and who they are and who their friends are. There’s an openness and vulnerability during this age group because the walls aren’t built yet. It is important to build relationships with them at this age so they trust you and you can mold them.
What They Need: They need lessons tied into who they are in Christ to help them find their identity in Christ. And explore what the scriptures say.
Grades 11 & 12
Favorite Thing: This is the tail end of the teen age and they are more adult-ish than childlike. Their ability to think abstractly and grasp bigger concepts is increasing and they’ve become more mature. You can begin to have a genuine and deep relationship with this age group. Another great thing is as they are thinking about life outside of high school, they have optimism and are not jaded by the world.
What They Need: They need to continue to learn truths of scripture and teach them the deeper concepts. We need to make sure they have a firm foundation of faith laid to protect them from the ideologies of the world.
Tell us how you have built and maintained strong relationships with the parents of the youth you have served in ministry.
This has been my biggest struggle in my current ministry context. Most of the teens involved in the youth ministry of Catawissa Christian Church have absentee parents at best. The teens walk to youth group on their own. One night early on in the ministry we actually had an angry mom walk into the building and loudly grab her child to bring him home! Over time I began to see which parents were just getting rid of their kids for a while and which ones were involved. I decided to spent my time on working to build relationships with the parents who were involved. I live in a small town, so it is easy to have people over for get togethers regularly. I also find it very effective if my wife and I “just happened” to be going for a walk by the students’ house when they were outside. Unfortunately, even though we were able to begin to build relationships with the more involved parents most of them were not Christians and not committed to a church. As responsibilities grew with the church plant and my time became stretched I had to focus on the few parents who had teens in the church.
Share an example of how you have successfully discipled a young person? How did you get to know them? What were the specific things you did to develop them in Christ?
When I first met Danny G. he came to a youth gathering with a friend and made it a point to tell me he was only there for the food. He kept coming back though and sometimes even when his friend didn’t. He reminded me every week (during the lesson) that he was only there for the food and games and didn’t even think Jesus was real, but he kept coming back. The biggest reason was because I let him voice his opinion and then challenged him to simply listen to mine. He respected that I didn’t force anything on him and over time began to trust me. He has a strong personality so I knew that I had to give him facts in a challenging way, then let him process it on his own so he felt in control. I also began to give him small amounts of responsibility in different areas which he appreciated greatly. He has come a long way in the last few years. In the past few months, I worked with him to let him know that I am heading out of the area. He has accepted this and has allowed another leader to take the reins of discipling him.