CHURCH: His Church Christian Fellowship, Escondido
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A YOUTH PASTOR? About four years ago I became the Assistant Youth Director. At that point I knew God had put it in my heart to be a youth specialist.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PASTOR FOR YOUTH? One year.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL GOD IS GUIDING YOUR YOUTH GROUP? I’m always praying and striving to have God take us to the next level. At this recent time we are building momentum and we’re learning how to “feed ourselves.”
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? Building relationships and influencing. Influencing teens towards the right direction, that’s what true leadership is.
OKAY, BANANA CREAM PIE OR A CHOCOLATE CHERRY MILKSHAKE FROM DENNY’S? Banana Cream Pie.
HOW IMPORTANT IS “BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS” IN A YOUTH MINISTRY? It’s number one on the priority list. Building relationships is what youth ministry is all about. It’s the most important and the most effective way to get teens to the next level in their relationship with Christ.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE TIMES YOU HAVE SHARED WITH YOUR YOUTH GROUP? There’s been lots! But the most memorable is the first Christmas party. We took a candle, cut the lights, and the one who had the candle shared how special another individual was to them.
DATING…HOW DO YOU STAND ON THIS ISSUE, WHAT COMES TO MIND? That’s a pretty touchy issue to a lot of parents, teens, and pastors. My stand on that is as long as you don’t date an unbeliever, give your “heart” away to the opposite sex, don’t put yourself in a compromising position, date in couples and keep Christ centered and focused, you are all right.
IS THERE A VERSE YOU FEEL CAN GUIDE YOUTH TODAY IN THE CHOICES THEY MAKE OR THE TROUBLES THEY MAY FACE? There’s a saying, “You win or lose by the way you choose.” I believe that the Scripture that stands out the most, and points to this the best is Proverbs 3:5-6
NAME: John Sorrentino, Jr. AGE: 27
CHURCH: New Covenant Tabernacle, National City
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE YOU WANTED TO BE A YOUTH PASTOR? I never did! My whole life my mother bugged me with “God promised me you are going to be a pastor.” I made sure I did everything possible not to be in ministry. I was in the process of going away to the Highway Patrol Academy. Like never before, God started dealing with areas of my life. Out of the blue, my wife tells me I am going to be a youth pastor. I said, “Yeah right!” Two weeks later I was the youth pastor! I guess when God promises, especially your mother, He fulfills it!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A PASTOR FOR YOUTH? Two and a half years.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL GOD IS GUIDING YOUR YOUTH GROUP? I am blessed with a bunch of crazy, on-fire for Jesus kids. God is really using these kids to not only bring their friends to church, but to bring Jesus to them. These kids are definitely “not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” so I am sure he is guiding us into a more evangelistic direction.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? For a long time, youth ministry has tried to be “cool” and compete with the world or has become one giant pizza party hoping to get kids to show up. It’s as if Jesus and His life changing power is not enough to attract today’s generation. I have had the opportunity to prove that Jesus is the only way to have real fun, and to quote a man of God I know, “I will never let a sinner have more fun with their sin than I will have with my salvation.” By the way, it’s not a job. It’s an adventure!
OKAY, BANANA CREAM PIE OR A CHOCOLATE CHERRY MILKSHAKE FROM DENNY’S? From Denny’s? Well, I guess the milkshake, because I love ice-cream. But Denny’s?
HOW IMPORTANT IS “BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS” IN A YOUTH MINISTRY? That’s like asking how important is dirt for a plant! It is what youth ministry is all about: building a relationship with Jesus, parents and each other. Jesus was our example with His disciples. If He didn’t build a relationship with them after He died and rose, the ministry would have stopped.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE TIMES YOU HAVE SHARED WITH YOUR YOUTH GROUP? WOW! where do I start? Every service is memorable. Just seeing youth from all walks of life giving themselves to Jesus and crying at the altar impacts like nothing else. As for fun times, let’s see — there are the camp-outs to Ensenada and the La Jolla Indian Reservation, they were memorable. “Crosswalk” (our youth conference) was something never to be forgotten. The “Acquire the Fire” trip was something to remember. I cannot leave out “wakeboarding.” But the most memorable for me was when we went to Universal Studios at the beginning of this summer and we all went to the “Water World Show” together. They had some technical problems so one of the actors asked who wanted to get wet. Our group was the loudest so he rode his Waverunner over to us and blasted us with water that I didn’t see coming. One of my youth leaders ducked and the water hit me straight on. It was definitely a most memorable moment.
DATING…HOW DO YOU STAND ON THIS ISSUE, WHAT COMES TO MIND? First of all, I believe the whole topic starts and ends in the home. I can preach my convictions all I want, but if it’s not supported in the home, it’s for nothing. With that said, 2Cor. 6:14 says we have nothing in common with the world, so the going out with an unsaved boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t wash with me. As for dating in Christ? I believe we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord. It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you get into a relationship that you can’t part ways without hard feelings, you might be in your flesh. Soul ties are not of God. If your relationship with your significant other gets in the way of your relationship with God, you might be in sin!
IS THERE A VERSE YOU FEEL CAN GUIDE YOUTH TODAY IN THE CHOICES THEY MAKE OR THE TROUBLES THEY MAY FACE? Proverbs 3:5-6 (CEV): “With all your heart you must trust in the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow.”