Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet David Roberts, A ProYouthWorker from Seattle

 The online world of social networking is an amazing place to meet other people in the youth work field.  In any given day you can seek help for resources, event ideas, connections for venues and speakers and the list goes on and on.  However the greatest part of this, if you allow it to be, is to connect with the person behind the profile picture.  I know that we are all busy and can only connect 140 characters at a time, but try to slow down and get to know someone new today.  For that reason, I'd like to introduce David Roberts who has been a proyouthworker for 18 years.  It is good to learn from those who are truly youth ministry veterans.  You can get to know him better by following him on twitter.

What is your name?
David Roberts

What trait are you known for?
I am passionate, funny; creative…this is beginning to sound like a dating profile.  I am also a photographer and a communicator.

Current Youth Work Role:
Director of Student & Family Ministries at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA

Number of years in the field:
I have been in vocational youth ministry for 18 years, and have been serving at my current church for the past 9 years. 

What made you choose to pursue youth work as a career?
Let’s be clear about one thing here…I never wanted to be a youth pastor.  It was definitely a call of God on my life during my sophomore year in college.  I was at the point in my faith where my only two options were: walk away or total surrender.  I chose to surrender to Christ and almost immediately sensed the call of ministry. 

What does a typical week look like for you?
I’m not sure ministry has a “typical” week, but almost all weeks include: staff meetings (necessary evil), study and preparation time, online content creation time, meeting with students and leaders, prayer, planning, times of collaboration and some eating thrown in there.

If you wrote a book based on your experience in youth work what would it be called?
“You can’t make this stuff up” subtitled with “what I have learned about the relentless love of God from almost 2 decades of youth ministry.”

Favorite memory with a teen(s)
During a mission trip to Belize we were debriefing on a small island in the Caribbean Sea.  During the evening we were having worship and sharing on the roof of the hotel overlooking the sea.  There were thunderheads forming in the distance and lightening was going off, and on the other side the sun was setting into the sea in the most gorgeous hues of red and pink.  Our group had just experienced one of the most powerful weeks of ministry and mission, and there we were sharing and praising God in worship on the roof of this hotel.  It was a holy moment and one that I will not soon forget.

Worst nightmare (what has happened, or what you fear has happened)
Worst nightmare happened almost 16 years ago, before cell phones.  I had almost 200 junior high students on an event call the All Night Blitz.  It was an event I helped organize and run for almost 2500 junior students in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul.)  The first step of the All Night Blitz was a rally at a church downtown.  After the rally, we were supposed to go to Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America.  We made a count on each of our 4 busses, and came up one kid short.  After figuring out who that student was, we began searching all over for him.  We searched and searched for him…I began to fear that maybe he was snatched by someone as we were all coming out of the rally.  I had to call his parents and tell them that we couldn’t find their son.  They immediately came to where we were and continued to search.  His mom reluctantly ended up going over to the Mall of America to see if somehow he ended up there.  She was insistent that her son would know better than to get on another groups bus.  It turns out after almost 2 hours of near panic he was found riding rides at Camp Snoopy. Apparently he decided to get on the bus with another church who didn’t believe in counting their students.  His reason for doing so was that one of his friends was in that group.

What are you most passionate about in youth work?
Seeing students come to know Christ and grow into disciples.  I am also completely passionate about missions and getting students involved in them.

What is the best idea you have ever come up with for youth?
One of the most fun things we did was create an amazing game for junior high students involving hidden glow sticks, nerf guns, darkness and a creepy church building that was like a castle.  We called the game espionage and it became a cult classic.

I am also proud that at every church I have ever served, I started junior high mission trips, which are still continuing to this day.

What is the best idea that turned into the worst event?
Why live in the past?  Let’s just move forward…I think it is best for everyone really.

What is one thing that would make your job easier?
Besides an unlimited budget?  I would say a team of interns and directors.

What is one thing you wish you didn’t have to do?
Besides staff meetings?  I would say expense reports and fundraising
blog comments powered by Disqus