What is the Purpose of Youth Ministry? Hear from our New Youth Ministry Program Director Brent Mencarelli
When the role for Director of the Youth Ministry program opened up, current Dean of Chapel and Community Life, Brent Mencarelli let the professors in the School of Ministry Studies know he had been praying for this specific opportunity for a number of years. After some more discussions and an interview, Mencarelli was hired to fill the role. Now, he’s excited to prepare the next generation for student ministry in new and exciting ways.
So what is the purpose of youth ministry and who is called to it? What courses will Mencarelli be teaching this year? And how will he balance his role as chaplain with his new professorship? Read on to find out!
1. What are some of your experiences with youth ministry?
I have worked in youth/student ministry for almost fifteen years now in a variety of ways, both in education and in the local church. Currently I also serve as our college’s chaplain.
2. What is the purpose of youth ministry?
Jesus called each of us to be disciples. Each generation needs men and women to mentor and equip them to trust and follow after Jesus. There are so many entities trying desperately to invite the next generation to follow after them. Youth ministry helps point the next generation toward the Creator and Savior of our world. This degree program has a direct impact on the students who will one day lead in our churches, workplaces, and communities.
3. What are some of the courses you will be teaching?
Philosophy and Foundation of Youth Ministry, Evangelism and Discipleship, Contemporary Issues, Communicating and Counseling Youth.
4. Which class most excites you or connects most directly with your experiences in youth ministry?
I am beyond excited to teach all of these courses – it is truly an honor, and I am humbled to help train and equip these students. In my ministry on campus I have always appreciated the opportunity to provide pastoral counseling for our students and to help them understand what it means to trust Jesus every day. This is a major part of my ministry, so the Communicating and Counseling course will be wonderful to teach.
5. Do you have an overarching goal or vision for the program?
My vision is to prepare our students for youth/student ministry no matter the ministry they pursue. This program is both foundational and practical. It will equip students to enter any type of student ministry the Lord leads them to.
6. What are some ways that you foresee your role as Dean of Chapel and Community Life directly benefitting you in your new role as a professor?
I consider my chaplain role to be a type of youth/student ministry. I cover a lot of the same topics that youth ministry does, I’m just directing them toward a different age and stage of life. My role as chaplain gives me direct first-hand experience in the very subject field that I’m teaching in. It is a wonderful connection!
7. Do you have any crazy stories from when you were a participant in youth ministries?
I became a believer at the age of 18. Most of my memories came from being in a college group at my church during my years as an undergraduate student. One of my favorite stories happened when our group went on a retreat together. We canoed down a river and camped out. We spent our days on the river, but each night we would have Bible studies and fellowship together. Most of the days were really warm, so one of the other guys asked me to spray sunscreen on his back so the sun wouldn’t burn his skin. Apparently I wasn’t paying enough attention, and by the end of the day, he had zig zag lines over his back. We called him Zoro the rest of the trip. Oops…
8. What is a little-known fact about you?
I am an outdoorsman — I love to hunt and fish! But the best part is cooking whatever it is I’ve caught for the day!
What is the purpose of youth ministry? Is this major for you? Find out all you need to know and more in our youth ministry major.