by Bradley Alexander
I recently went to Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas to begin a journey towards being certified in youth ministry in the United Methodist Church. In the weeks leading up to classes I began to feel very anxious and unworthy of this calling. This feeling has some history in academics and in my experience in life.
For the longest time I have been trying to find my niche, and coming from a family where my dad, Mike Alexander, brother, David Alexander, and wife, Amy Alexander are all ordained United Methodist pastors, I felt that my call was ordination. Throughout my life God has called me elsewhere, but the feeling of “where do I belong” still lingered and I didn’t honesty know where I belonged, or what I was called to do. I had ideas and thoughts on where God was calling me, but I had serious doubts as to whether that was God or just me.
I can remember the moment I knew that I was called to youth ministry. It was at Perkins that week of certification, and it wasn’t an emotional moment; it wasn’t even anything that any of my fellow classmates or my professors said. It was simply a moment where we were on a class break and I was scrolling through Instragram on my phone. I saw picture after picture of several of my students dressed up to go to a banquet. I remember God telling me, “This is the path, walk in it.”
I feel such pride that God had given me this call. To walk, cry, and laugh with teenagers. God used Perkins, my professors, and my fellow youth ministry grad students to bring it all together. He used my pain of not feeling belonging for this great call. It was a massive prayer answered. Now I know what God feels like when He sees us and that feeling – I pray it sustains all that I do with ministry, with my marriage, and with my life.
For me, youth ministry certification class at Perkins has been the turning point in my call, a family to belong to and have support from, and a place to grow to be better at what I am called to do. I am honored and humbled to used by God.
Bradley Alexander is the Director of Student Ministries at FUMC of Cleburne, TX.
“This is the path, walk in it.” A while back I wrote an article about a certification journey that I had began with seeking to achieve a Youth Ministry Certification in the United Methodist Church. I have recently decided to follow a curve in this path, and join any that will join me in continuing my certification journey at SPARK Youth Ministry Conference which is sponsored by Southwestern College. I feel that God is calling me to continue with three professors that have greatly impacted me, Charles Harrison, Stephen Rankin, and Wendy Mohler-Seib. Their passion and their experience in Youth Ministry is something of great value and one where I can learn much from. Additionally this new location provides us with an opportunity to serve as Youth Ministry Coaches for people that are new to Youth Ministry. My decision was deeply weighed in prayer and discernment, and I fully support you looking into the certification programs at both Southwestern College at Kessler Park UMC and SMU Perkins School of Theology, they are both worthy of your consideration. This is still the path, God is still with me and I am continually humbled to be used by Him.