OUTLOOK editor Brenda Dickerson talks with Pastor Darriel Hoy about her new role as the Central States Conference youth director and her vision for that ministry.

 Pastor Hoy, you’ve served in multiple areas of ministry. How did you become passionate about youth?

Of all the ministries that I’ve served, youth and young adult ministries are my first loves.   Partly because I understand that they are foundational.  If our church invests deeply in youth and young adults, our church will see a return from that investment both now and in the future.

My passion for youth ministry is also inspired by my mother.  She was a teacher and then a counselor for abused girls.  Not only did my friends gravitate towards my mother, but all youth did.  It wasn’t unusual to find a strange kid who needed a mother’s touch at our dinner table. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto Me.” My mom always had time and made room for youth. She still does.

Finally, I feel so strongly about youth and young adult ministries because these two ministries made a profound difference in my life. I’m alive today because of the Christian adults who mentored me as a youth, and I’m a Christian because they made Jesus real and relevant to me. I was a pre-teen when my parents separated. To me, it was the end of the world. My church became my place of refuge. My pastor was D.C. Hatcher, and he was known as an evangelist.  But to me, he was a shepherd.

At one of the most traumatic times in my life, he walked with me and helped me understand that God would never abandon me. He and his wife Patricia believed that youth are important in God’s kingdom and their philosophy influenced how they practiced ministry. From the Hatchers, I learned that true success is doing God’s will and allowing others to see God in you.  They engaged me and other youth in meaningful ministry – serving communion to the sick, making hospital visits, cooking a meal for a family in need, and praying with people facing life’s challenges.

Then I went to college. I was miles away from home in a new environment, and the campus culture encouraged me to abandon my faith. I didn’t make good choices my first year. But I remembered that God will never abandon me, and I remembered that true success is doing God’s will and allowing others to see Christ in me. I started attending Immanuel Temple SDA Church, and the elders of the church had the gifts of hospitality and young adult ministry.

Every week all the young adults were invited to a different elder’s home where we ate, talked about life, and prayed. My adult life was shaped in this small group environment where I found community and understanding, experienced love and spiritual growth, and received practical advice for living.

Please briefly summarize your goals for Central States Youth Ministries.

Central States Youth Ministries is instigating an uprising among youth and young adults. We’re facilitating a rebellion by helping our youth reject the materialism, media messages, music, and mean spiritedness of the world that keep them from rising up to be the young heroes that God has called them to be. Because of Christ-centered, holistic, and revolutionary ministry, our youth will turn their backs on Satan’s seductive systems of destruction and pledge allegiance to the God who loves them, gave His life for them, and has amazing plans for them.

We fulfill this vision through the following ministries

  • Training – Equipping our leaders to view our youth and young adults through the eyes of Christ and invest in their success;
  • Spiritual Boot Camps – Moving beyond book knowledge of the bible to critical thinking and applying God’s word to our everyday situations
  • Service – Inspiring disciples who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, demonstrating true love through serving, empowering, and being generous to others
  • Life Skills – Providing practical resources to help achieve life’s goals.

What excites you about youth?

I love people of all ages, but youth are my favorite people on earth. I love and respect their ingenuity and how they challenge the status quo; I value their honesty, insight, and opinions; I’m awed by their loyalty, compassion, and courage; I love their sarcasm and jokes; and I simply enjoy being with them.

I’m excited about the plans God has for this generation of youth and young adults.  I believe that our youth are the Daniels of this day who despite what the world tells them to do, they live and die for God. They are Josephs who rise above hate and injustice in our world to own successful businesses. They are the Jonathans and Davids who reject jealousy and fakeness to build true friendships and help each other succeed. They are the modern-day Miriams who watch over their younger brothers and sisters and lead them away from destruction to safety in Christ. They are the lads and ladies who offer their two fish and five loaves or whatever they have and watch God multiply it to feed the hungry. They are the end-time Esthers who overcome challenging childhood circumstances – poverty, foster care, single parent homes, divorce, baby mama drama – and rise up to be leaders whose decisions change history for the better.

What are your concerns for the youth?

My biggest concern isn’t for our youth. It’s for adults.  As adults we understand that Satan intentionally targets our youth to trap them in a lifestyle of habitual sin. We say Christ has made a difference in our lives, and we’re blessed with resources our parents never dreamed of having. And yet, we sit back and watch Satan destroy our youth and young adults without intervening. God is calling adults to enlist in His army of prayer warriors, mentors, youth leaders, teachers, behind the scenes supporters, and generous donors. My prayer is that more adults will be moved to invest their time, talents, and treasures and join God in the fight for the lives of our youth and young adults.

Photo Caption: Central States youth learn about vehicle maintenance at Firestone Complete Auto Care.