Brad Deetscreek: Seminary Professor Passionate About Ministry to Youth
Do you know the importance of youth ministry in the church? Youth Ministry is a vital part of the church because it is meant to equip the younger generation to know Jesus, passionately follow him, and continue to fulfill the Great Commission. Brad Deetscreek, Professor of Youth Ministries, is just one example of a ministry leader who is dedicated to helping students follow Jesus.
Deetscreek answered the call to follow Jesus early on in life and is currently working in vocational ministry as a professor and a pastor of family ministries. He continues to be influential in students’ lives by taking them on missions trips and showing genuine care for their spiritual lives, all the while, equipping youth pastors in training to do the same!
Interested in ministry to youth as a career? Read on to learn more about his experiences.
Tell us about your family.
My wife’s name is Tara. We have been married for 23 years. I have four boys: Finn (22), Sully (19), Killian (17), and Sawyer (10).
How did you come to know the Lord?
I became a follower of Jesus when I was a young child of five years. Growing up I continued to believe in Jesus and there were times where I was close to him and times that I would wander, but he was always there for me. When I was a junior in college at Cedarville, I really began to understand what it meant to follow Jesus.
What was your transition like from college to youth ministry?
Like I mentioned, growing close to Jesus really happened toward the end of my time at Cedarville. When I felt called to ministry during my senior year, I had to switch from applying to graduate schools (my undergrad degree is in Biology) and start focusing on going to seminary. What I found is that I needed theological training and I needed to grow up a whole bunch. I grew up in a Charis (Grace Brethren) Church, so I was excited to go to Grace Seminary. I then went back to my home church and served there until I moved to Akron, Ohio, to work with Grace Church of Greater Akron – Bath Campus in 2007. I was the first youth pastor they hired and it has been great to see what God has done there. As the Lead Pastor of Family Ministry I get to participate in ministry to youth every day.
What drew you to youth ministry?
I am passionate about the next generation and ministry to youth. When I was working toward my M.Div. at Grace Theological Seminary, I spent a summer traveling with students on a ministry program called Operation Barnabas that was a ministry of CE National (which is now called Momentum Ministry Partners). It was that summer that I began to see the impact God made in the lives of teenagers, and my desire to reach them has not stopped.
What is the importance of youth ministry in the church?
The teenage years are ones of much change and many questions. I believe that the church’s ministry to youth can help students navigate these changes and help them find the answers to life’s most important questions by pointing them to a relationship with Jesus. Why would we want them to find those answers anywhere else? Youth ministry provides great environments where the teenager can be shown the love of Jesus and what it looks like to follow Him.
Tell us about some of the trips you’ve taken over your time in youth ministry.
I just returned from a trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, with 22 college-aged students from our church. It was incredible. My favorite thing to do is empower young leaders and watch them rise to the expectations. We as a church love building long-term relationships with a community. For some of these students, it was their fourth or fifth time in that community. It is amazing to see what God does over time when we invest in the same places.
I usually take one to two trips per year with our church. I personally have a heart for the country of Haiti as it is the place I have been the most. I’m looking forward to going back there someday. I think and pray for my friends there often.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a leader in youth ministry?
There is no such thing as a lost cause. God can transform any person and any situation. Sometimes the young people that appear to be the most difficult are the ones that when their eyes are opened to the wonders of God’s love, become the ones that make an incredible difference.
What gets you most excited about your ministry to youth?
I am someone who gets excited very easily and is usually very optimistic. I’m excited to see what God does next in the lives of the students and to hear of His faithfulness to them. I’m excited to see where our students end up in five years and see the impact God is making in them and through them.
Do you desire a career in ministry to youth? Are you passionate about making a difference and the importance of youth ministry in the church? Check out our Youth Ministry Degree for access to the class list, professors, and more information on the School of Ministry Studies.