What were you doing before you came to Kingswood?
It’s been a fun journey. I graduated in 2006 from Indiana Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Christian Ministries. Soon after, I was offered a really good full-time job five minutes from the beach there in California (Brent’s home state). However, I felt God’s call to move to New Zealand. I actually heard an audible voice tell me to go – it was that strong. I moved to New Zealand, got a job, and volunteered as a youth pastor. I was a waiter and an outdoor instructor for kayaking, archery, snowboarding, and surfing. I then felt called to return as a full-time missionary. I was there for another two years with Global Partners, from 2008-2010.
I’ve been in ministry since I was eighteen, specifically youth ministry. After those two years, I worked as a pastor at Faith Church in Lansing, Michigan. I was the youth pastor, the young adults pastor, and the campus pastor from 2010-2013. I also completed my M.Div. in Christian Leadership from Liberty University in 2009 and was ordained in 2010.
I was then contacted by Kingswood University and asked if I would consider becoming the director of the youth ministries program. At the time, former President Mark
Gorveatte and former Academic Dean David Smith were acquaintances of mine. I had mentored President Gorveatte’s son in New Zealand, and Dave Smith had been one of my professors. I felt humbled and privileged to take on this role at Kingswood. Kingswood’s emphasis upon an experiential education aligns with what I believe. That was four years ago, and here I am today. (Brent had never been to Canada before this point.)
What is your favourite class that you teach?
I have a really cool course load. Besides my youth ministry courses, I also teach Introduction to the New Testament and some expository preaching courses. I love teaching all my courses, but I particularly like my Introduction to Youth Ministry course. Twice a semester my students participate in a learning lab where they set up a mock youth group. They get to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.
Why do you think youth ministry is so important?
Youth ministry is important because young people need to be surrounded and encouraged by their peers to live their lives for Christ. It doesn’t mean that intergenerational ministry can’t happen between older and younger people but young people need to be with young people. We need to empower people of all ages to point their peers toward Christ. Plus, 70-80 percent of people come to Christ before age 21. These teens will be our future board members and pastors of our churches: we need to invest in them now.
Do you think the Church needs to change how we reach youth?
Some have said that how we do ministry may change, but the message never changes. To some extent, all teens deal with the same problems. There will still be issues like bullying, standing up for what’s right, how to date, etc. Yet we also see a huge shift particularly with social media. The digital world has changed things. We need to understand how to effectively defend the Gospel in light of the current culture.
Where do you hope to see Kingswood headed in the future?
We need to continue to do what we do with excellence and unapologetically. I hope we continue to take the lead with experiential learning and putting so much value on practical ministry experience. I would like us to become more of a resource for others. I want people to look to us for coaching and training on various topics.
What are some things that you absolutely love to do in your free time?
I love being active outdoors. I’ve committed to running a half-marathon each year since university. I ran a half-marathon with one of our students last year. I also love sports, visiting other countries, and spending time with my wife and two girls. As a family, we love our movie nights. We just got a trampoline that my girls are enjoying. We also love doing ministry together. My wife and I both travel speaking. My wife Natasha is currently finishing up her M.A. in Pastoral Theology here at Kingswood and is almost finished writing her first book. My daughter Roya (9) is into reading, drawing, and dinosaurs; my other daughter Alea (7) is into dance.
Note: Brent has written a book titled The Hard Twenty-Somethings: Not Alone in the Unknown.