Meet the All-Stars of our Youth Ministry

June 30, 2013 | by: Seth Carter | 0 comments

Posted in: Youth | Tags: youth, ministry, bio, leader, worker, interview, teacher, college, all-star, chapel, chimes

Want to know more about the adults who are leading your children on their spiritual journey? Get to know their heart’s desire in working with our youth and college ministries.

Chris Pierce…future Middle School leader on Sunday nights.

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 12th grade because I was finishing

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group? Our youth group on each Sunday had to teach the Sunday School classes and we drew names out of a hat. I got the Preacher's Class and I was so nervous that I pulled on my tie during the whole time.

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? Nuts :)

Why did you choose to work with the youth? Because I really enjoy working with young people; it's always a lot of fun.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? The immediate access to the whole world from technology and the temptations they face is great

Seth Carter…your handy dandy youth pastor

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 3rd grade because she was the strictest teacher I ever had.

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group? One night on the way home from a youth trip we stopped at a rest stop. Everyone loaded the bus but didn’t wait for me.They didn’t notice I was missing until about 15 miles down the road. What makes it funnier is that I was typically the loudest, craziest, most noticeable person of the group. Every time we took a head count after that, someone would always ask, “Where’s Seth?”

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry? We should never underestimate the students’ potential.

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? World Changers, Miami. 2003.During group time after a stirring worship service, we all gathered for what was supposed to be a brief group wrap-up session. It turned out to be all but brief. I put a chair in the middle of our circle and asked them if they wanted to have the group pray for them to come sit in their chair with their arms lifted out shoulder high.After saying their prayer request, volunteers would come up and support their arms while praying for them aloud.Sometimes four people came up to pray, and sometimes everyone came up and had a hand on the person in the chair.Students and adults both got passed the uncomfortable vulnerability of it and by the end of the night everyone ended up coming to the chair for prayer. It was probably one of the most open, emotional, genuine, and teary eyed experience I’ve ever been a part of.

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? A tape measure, because I’m always analyzing things.  Or, a pry bar because I'm always trying to get people out of their comfort zone. 

Why did you choose to work with the youth? Because all the other options were too boring.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? That I was a person who had a sincere love for Jesus.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? If TV and music are effective gages in measuring the state of American culture, then there is a colossal decline in morals and ethics. Specifically, I’m noticing that we are told over and over again that foul language, immodesty, and homosexuality are not wrong anymore. I’m afraid that Satan is winning in his efforts to convince the younger generation that sin isn’t really so bad.

Michelle Yardley…Summer Girls Bible Study leader and Sunday School teacher

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 12th grade b/c it's when I started dating Jason.

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry?The friends you make in youth group are true friendships that you can count on.

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? A level. I like my life to be "balanced"

Why did you choose to work with the youth? This is my FAVORITE age group to work with. They are fun and sweet.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? I love the Lord and love them.

What worries you about Christian youth in America?The general youth in America worry me with their lack of morals. But the Christian youth amaze me daily with their love of the Lord and good decisions.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? I want to see more slip n slides in the summer. Great youth builder :)

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? I have the best time in the summer with the girl's bible study. These young ladies are WAY more mature than I was at their age. I learn from them every year!

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? Prayer partners

Debra Stephenson…Girls Bible study leader this summer.

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? Third, because the students can write, still want to learn, and aren't old enough to think sassing an adult is funny.

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group? Our group had matching outfits and we sang in different churches. We sang at a church at the beach, they fed us lunch, and we went all went out into the ocean, matching outfits and all! These were long dresses for the girls and slacks, dress shirts, vests and bowties for the boys.

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry? I just think every kid should get the chance to be in one!

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? The loose nail. I'm not part of a group and don't have a special talent, but I can help hold others up!

Why did you choose to work with the youth? I had been looking for an opportunity to do a certain thing, and when Seth asked me to help, I saw it as an opportunity to do that certain thing!

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? The sincerity of my desire to see them soar in their walk with Jesus!

What worries you about Christian youth in America? That they will wait too long, like I did, to share their faith.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? Teamwork! I LOVE it when all the parts work together like one big well-oiled machine!

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? The faces on the people whom we served showing their gratitude for what we brought to them physically and spiritually.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? Fearlessness to try something new.

Mark Poindexter…the Man, the Myth, the Legend

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 9th. Brand new environment, friends, driver's license draweth nigh, new teachers, new & interesting subjects, lots of questions. Now that's the recipe for excitement.

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group? It was April 1, 1973 and I was on a church youth trip and it began to hail. I went out to put the top up on my car which was in a parking lot up a steep incline. Running back down to the lodge I fell and broke 2 bones in my arm (funny, right). When I got back to the lodge I told one of our youth leaders that I thought I might have broken my arm. A "friend" standing nearby thinking I was pulling an April fools joke grabbed and shook my hand yelling "April fools" until one of the bones came through the skin. Okay the funny part: when the youth leader saw the protruding bone she fainted. Okay, so I lack a sense of humor. Is this thing on? Thank you; I am in town all week.

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry? It must be anchored by the Gospel message, early and often. If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? Adjustable wrench. We are talking about youth, right?

Why did you choose to work with the youth? High school is such an impressionable time for anyone. We are starting to ask and wonder about those important things in life (e.g.why are we here, what's the meaning and my purpose in life) and we may even be challenging the faith of our parents in the process of making it our own. I believe it could be one of the most crucial times in a young person's life and that's why I remain motivated and have tried to teach the Truth of the Scriptures for the last 30 years to high school age youth. I firmly believe the Scriptures continue to have the answers to all problems in an age where popular cultural mores and standards sometimes seem to lure young people onto hurtful and damaging traps.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? That I love to teach about Jesus.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? It would appear to this outsider that some parents allow their children to make crucial decisions about their spiritual well-being that the parents should be making for them. Another by-product of popular culture.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? As much as possible, maintain the number of mission/service trips. They take the focus off us and put the focus in its proper place.

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? In our first effort to take the youth on a camping trip many things happened and lessons learned. But the thing that sticks out the most is when about midnight on the first night of the first youth camping I finally got all the youth in their sleeping bags and somewhat quiet (that was measured by all the other campers nearby had stopped shouting "BE QUIET!!! at us). I had just drifted off to sleep (about 2 a.m.) when suddenly all the girls were screaming. I scrambled into my pants, tripping over a tent pole, thinking I was going to be wrestling a bear any second only to find out the guys had quietly sneaked out of their own tent and pull the stakes out of the ground on the girls tent causing it to collapse. I helped the girls put their tent back up and threatened the guys, as much as a youth leader can, lawfully and made my way in the pitch dark back to my own tent. Since the sun had already set hours earlier I had selfishly decided to let my sinful frustration stew until morning when I had had time to put on my pleasant youth leader face. Upon entering my tent I told Kim, "Remind me the next time I want to take the youth camping, hit me in the head with a board." That was the first of about a dozen youth camping trips. Some might say, "Some people never learn" but I believe love makes you remember those wonderful times later and laugh. I have never forgotten how privileged I am to have worked with the youth at WCC over the years. It has been one of the many highlights of my life.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? When parents and others are involved.

Leslie Carter…High School Sunday night Bible study leader and wife extraordinaire

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? My freshman year in college because I was over the nervousness of being a freshman, felt comfortable in who I was, had a great group of Christian friends, and was getting serious about my major.

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group? When we used to have Super Bowl parties and the highlight of the night by far was Rose Stout singing “Another One Bites The Dust” Karaoke style.

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry? How bout three? First, it’s absolutely a myth that you can’t have fun and be a Christian. Second, that people sell kids short and don’t give them enough credit. Finally, I think it’s important to talk about hard stuff.

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why? A piece of sandpaper, smoothing out all of Seth’s rough edges.

Why did you choose to work with the youth? It’s a good place to serve and invest my time. Plus, I have a fun time being with them. I also wanted to support my husband. Also, my youth leaders had a huge influence on me and I would love for God to use me to also have an influence on others.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? That I loved God, and loved and cared about them.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? That we are more tempted and pressured to be so accepting that they don’t believe in absolute truth. A lot of people are making compromises and trying to merge what the world says with what the Bible says. Today’s society is so “me” centered, that it’s hard to be “Christ” centered.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? Kids having a good time, making others feel welcome, and reaching out to their friends.

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? When I was on World Changers during our small group share time hearing and seeing how God was at work in the lives of our youth.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? The opportunities for students to focus on the needs of others instead of themselves like Operation Christmas child, Windsor point, mission Mondays, mission trips, and that kinda stuff.

Aric LaBarr…College Sunday School teacher

Favorite grade of school: 5th grade is still my favorite. Ashley and I got our first experience teaching Sunday school when we used to teach the 5th graders over 7 years ago. It was an amazing experience!

Philosophy about youth ministry: Don't always think you are the teacher. Do guide the youth, but be open to their knowledge. God works miracles in the minds of children!

Tool in a toolbox:If I were a tool in a tool box I would be a Swiss Army knife. Got to be able to adapt to any situation!

Why I chose to work with youth:Don't mean to be corny here, but children are our future. I didn't have a lot of spiritual guidance when I was young, so I want to help change that for others.

What I hope students will remember about me:I hope they just remember that I cared about them and tried to let God guide me in my work for them.

Worries:The thing that worries me the most about Christian youth in America is apathy. I think people are more willing just to sit back and do nothing and not stand up for what they believe.

Memory I won't forget:I won't forget my first Upward basketball team that I coached. Those kids always had a way of making me laugh, not matter how stressful my day had been.

Favorite Component of Youth Ministry:My favorite component of the youth ministry is Seth of course!!!

Susan Ortiz…7 year veteran with Wake Chapel Youth Ministry.

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 9th grade because it was the 1st time in school since 1st grade that I had NO siblings in school with me. It was awesomeJ. I was not someone’s ‘little sister’! OK, I did have my 1st real boyfriend then also.

Tell a funny memory from when you were a teenager in youth group?Mr. Aycock, the pastor of our church, would drive a bunch of us on ‘youth trips’. He was very funny and it was a treat to ride in his car. Going through downtown Raleigh @ night he knew if you timed it right, you would hit the all the stoplights @ the same color light. We were not so smart. He would delay until he hit the 1st one on yellow and scoot through. Then speed to the next never slowing down, LOTS of bumps. We were sure our pastor was going to go through a red light, cooooool!

What’s one of your philosophies about youth ministry?Teens are at so many crossroads. Youth leaders should be great listeners, interested and affirming of whatever is on the minds and hearts of teens. Jesus set the example of welcoming and affirming of who we are in Him, not who we are to the world.

If you were a tool in a toolbox, what would you be and why?I’d be a tape measure. So useful!I love to figure out just ‘how’ I can fit something in, always an adventure.

Why did you choose to work with the youth? That’s easy, God chose that for me. After 7 years, I still feel unworthy and ill equipped for the task.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you?I love them through and through.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? There is too much exposure to an amoral worldly society way too early in life. They are bombarded daily through media, school, community, etc. that is not conducive with the plans God has for them. What will guide their decisions?

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry?I’m not about numbers, but I do believe the youth would love a way to incorporate ALL the teens in our church in their groups. Parents making youth group a priority, as I assume they make school and sports. More parent participation in things like ‘Extended Play’.

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry?My 1st year working with Middle School! J haha I wasn’t savvy to ‘boy play’. Greg helped A LOT and the 3 boys were soon my favorite interaction of the week! The discussion one night led one of the boys to ask, “Can I really hear God speak to me?” We instituted ‘5 minutes of silence’ each week to just sit before The Lord. I believe they will have that memory tucked back in their minds and will know their God is always waiting with open arms.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry?The YOUTH! They LOVE to laugh. I believe our youth ministry teaches them the importance of ‘joyful living.’

Susan Vuncannon: Middle School Sunday School teacher

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 12th, because it was the last.

Why did you choose to work with the youth? I was encouraged by several people and when I prayed about it, the Lord said "Go," so I did.

What’s one thing you hope the students will remember about you? That I loved them no matter what they did or said.

What worries you about Christian youth in America? That they are influenced by the examples set before them by adults.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? I would like to see a greater connection between the youth and the middle age and seniors in our church.

Tell about an experience you’ll never forget while working with our youth ministry? I love the experience of hearing the young people pray aloud in our SS class.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? The youth.

Kriston Wiltsey: Middle School Sunday Night Youth Bible Study leader

What’s your favorite grade of school and why? 5th grade. I had the most awesome teacher; her name was Mrs. Elmendorff. She taught us in songs and made learning and memorizing fun and easy. Why did you choose to work with the youth?Working with children has always been something I loved doing. Youth group intimidated me, but God was calling me out of my comfort zone!

What worries you about Christian youth in America? They don't seem to believe in absolute truths. Everything is gray area, there is not absolute rights and wrongs, it's whatever they feel is best given a circumstance.

What do you want to see more of in our youth ministry? Youth bringing and using their Bibles.

What’s one of your favorite components of our youth ministry? I love the mission trips and I hope to go on more!

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