Youth: Passing the Baton

There is an old joke that goes like this...

Question: “How long does it take for a youth director to change a light bulb?”

Answer: “Youth directors don’t stick around long enough for light bulbs to go out.”

There are a number of reasons that youth directors have a short “shelf-life” at churches. The demands of the job can be surprisingly high-pressure. Most times these directors get into the youth ministry game because they had some great experience of their own that they want to share. But the hopeful dreams of sharing campfires, leading prayer meetings, and creating spiritual-charged events are quickly dimmed by the pressure to create paperwork, meet the demands of parents and pastors, and the futile effort of shoehorning a church program into the already-jammed schedules of today’s average teenager.

We’ve been lucky, over the past two years, to have a youth director that has approached this surprisingly high-pressure position with a great deal of poise and hard work. It is safe to say that, while April is leaving this summer to go back to our homeland, Maine, she isn’t going because she’s flickered out like an old bulb. She leaves after two years of mutually life-giving ministry at Red Clay. It is easy to recite a litany of April’s contributions to our program - from the growth of the summer camp program, to an intentional refocusing of youth in mission, and even to her work on the capital campaign, but all of that pales in comparison to her greatest gift to us. April’s great contribution is that she’s loved our kids.


What a blessing!


The baton she passes in a few months time will be heavy with expectation, but I could not be more confident in the person she will pass it to. It is my pleasure to introduce you to him: his name is Mr. John Moore. John will graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary in mid-May and then, on July 1, John will be the newest member of the Red Clay staff and church family.

Hiring John is the result of a very intentional process led by myself, Patrick, Jeffrey, the personnel committee, and a small group of youth and parents. He was, by far, the premier candidate of the nearly 30 applicants that were interested and six that interviewed. We received resumes from as far away as Germany, San Jose, and Seattle and as nearby as West Chester, PA.

John will join us for a formal introduction to the church on Palm Sunday, April 17, and we look forward to sharing more about this tremendous person at that time. For now, allow me to say this: I have never been involved in a hiring process where I had to consider how the new person would love and interact with my children. This time was different, Grace and Lily will be in John’s Sunday School program and maybe even his youth group someday. It is enough to say that I am overjoyed that my daughters will know him and be spiritually led by him. This is the best vote of confidence I can ever give.

But hey, no pressure, right?

Grace and peace,