1) What is Your Name?
2) How old are you?
3) Tell us a little about your family?
I will have been married for 25 years this coming June 13th (2004) to Catherine. She is an Assist. Director of Admissions at Purdue University. We have one daughter, Heather, recently graduated from Purdue University and also recently married to Trent Watkins – it’s been a big year for our family! My daughter and son-in-law have settled in the Detroit Michigan area with their 2 Weimarainer puppies: Mattea and Gabriel. (We have grandPUPPIES for the time being!)
4) What is the Name of Your Church?
St. Andrew United Methodist Church, located in West Lafayette, Indiana
5) Does your Youth Ministry have a name? If so, what is it?
Yes, our youth & young adult ministry is called “The CrossRoads.”
6) What is your role in the ministry?
I am a full time associate pastor at our church with the primary responsibility as CrossRoads Pastor. As this is a relatively new ministry, I am the first CrossRoads Pastor at St. Andrew.
7) How long have you been at your present church?
8) How long have you been in Youth Ministry all together?
About 17 years
9) What is your greatest passion in Youth Ministry?
Seeing the “ah-ha” moments in young people’s lives when they begin to really understand what a relationship with Jesus Christ can mean.
10) What would you say is your "life verse"?
Phil. 4:13 “For I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
11) What is your passion in life?
To help young people make the connection with Jesus Christ.
12) Share one ministry highlight for you?
Officiating at my daughter’s wedding. What a scary-delightful time!
13) Share one ministry lowlight for you?
There have been many, many times when I wondered if I have made a serious blunder by going into youth ministry. Each time, God has not only reassured me of my call, but actually turned each “lowlight” into a growth filled experience – though not always right away!
14) What have you done in your ministry that has had the greatest impact on students?
The greatest “thing” I have done is to quit thinking “programs” and started thinking “relationships.”
15) What is something in ministry that you would warn others to NEVER do?
Please, please, please DON’T get caught up in the numbers game! Mega-ministries are wonderful and they reach hundreds and thousands of young people for Jesus Christ, but please don’t judge yourself a failure in your ministry if you can’t match numbers with the ministry across the street or across town. I preach the “3 R’s” to my leaders: Relationship. Relationship. Relationship. Your relationship with God must come first. Your relationship with your family must be a healthy one and a priority in your life. Your relationship with your ministry should fall after the first two. If you get things confused, you are in for a tough ministry experience and probably won’t last very long!
16) In a sentence or two, what is your definition of a "successful youth ministry"?
A successful youth ministry is one that honors God by keeping Him first and places emphasis on building relationships with young people more than building programs can’t go wrong. The leaders must be able to create a fun and safe place for young people to grow in their faith and not be intimidated with tough questions.
17) In your opinion what are some of the biggest needs of teens today?
Meaningful relationships in a faith community that values them. Relevant youth & young adult ministries that place an emphasis on reaching young people where they are - but not leaving them there!
18) What advice would you give the teens of today?
Stay in school. Stay away from drugs. Find a faith community that will help you grow.
19) If you could tell parents ONE thing, what would it be?
If you really want a solid relationship with your kids - be involved with them! Don’t try to trade “stuff” for quality time spent just hanging out with your children. Love doesn’t come from a checkbook.
20) What book(s) are you presently reading?
1) Erwin R. McManus’ "Unstoppable Force".
21) What would be the top 3 books you would recommend?
McManus’ "Unstoppable Force", Dan Kimball’s "The Emerging Church" and Mike Yaconelli’s "Messy Spirituality". Also anything by Brian McClaren, Leonard Sweet and Anne LaMott. Also an incredible book by Ronald A. Heifetz called "Leadership Without Easy Answers". John Maxwell’s books on leadership are also well worth reading for Youth Pastors who want to build effective leadership teams.
22) What two movies would you most recommend to other youth workers?
1) Bruce Almighty
2) The Lord of The Rings Movies
23) Who is your favorite musician/music group?
I have pretty eclectic tastes in music. I love most music, regardless of musical genre, IF it has a positive message.
24) Who has been the biggest influence on you in youth ministry?
Jesus Christ. I try not to establish human “hero’s,” but many people have encouraged me.
25) What direction would you like to see your ministry move toward?
I am praying for the next steps right now.
26) What is the most significant thing God has taught you since being in Youth Ministry?
That I frequently dream too small for His vision for our church. I just need to be faithful to His plan, not off somewhere trying to create my own plan for this ministry.
27) Youth ministry involves a lot of doing and giving to others. What do you do in order to get fed and encouraged?
I stay in a Bible Study of one kind or another. I take “getaway” weekends regularly. I take 4 weeks vacation per year and I try to establish good boundaries as far as days off. I meet regularly with a small group of pastors to pray and talk.
28) If you could have done three things differently when you were a teenager yourself, what would they have been?
I’m really not sure? I think I needed to do things the way I did them, even the stupid things, to bring me to where I am today.
29) What would you say are three to five MUST-HAVE resources for every youth worker?
1) A Prayer Team that surrounds you and your ministry with Prayer.
2) A HUGE resource library to see what other’s are doing and to provide new and fresh ideas.
3) A group of friends or pastors you know very well that you can spout off to and that will keep you accountable.
4) A loving spouse that is part of your ministry life.
5) A booster’s club type group that handles fund raising, burger flipping, cookie baking, chaperoning, driving, etc. so you can spend more quality time with your youth/young adults.
30) Have you contributed anything to the YM Exchange on Pastor2youth.com?
31) How could we pray for you and your ministry?
You can pray for all our CrossRoads volunteer leaders – they are great!
32) Would you be willing to share a picture of you and/or your group with us?
L- R: Me (Pastor Pat), my daughter Heather & my wife Cathy on a spiritual retreat weekend on a mountain top in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia. Click Here to view the full-sized picture.