Parkway youth minister ready

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

NATCHEZ — Working with youth isn’t new for Darrell Patrick. He was doing it before he graduated from high school.

Originally from Heidelberg, Patrick, 22, started working with younger children when he was 16 years old.

“At 16, I received Christ as my savior and understood devotion to God,” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘I’m a Christian.’”

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After graduating from high school, Patrick attended Jones County Junior College, where he met the woman who would become his wife, now Serianne Nicole Patrick.

For Patrick, there was never a question that he would become a youth minister.

Patrick went on to serve as youth minister at Lake Como Baptist Church in Bay Springs.

Several weeks ago, Parkway Baptist Church called and asked him to serve as their new youth minister.

“My wife and I prayed about it for a couple weeks,” Patrick said. “The next thing I knew, I was standing before the (Parkway) congregation and was being voted in.”

Patrick has served as youth minister for roughly a week. He’s starting to plan retreats, lock-ins and Wednesday night programs.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s amazing. I never expected this growing up. I knew I wanted to be in the ministry, just not where. God knew what he was doing.”

The youth minister, comparatively young himself, sees his own youth as an advantage in connecting with junior high and high school students.

“I understand where they’re coming from,” he said. “I understand the culture.”

One of the most challenging parts of being a youth minister is trying to get them to comprehend God’s word and how to incorporate it into their own lives, he said.

“It should be the only thing that goes through their mind,” he said. “Trying to get kids to comprehend that life is not about them, it’s about Christ.”

But when even one or two get it, that’s what the job’s about, he said.

“When I see that, even if just a few catch on, it makes it all worth it,” he said.

Patrick doesn’t have dreams of being in charge of an entire congregation, though. He’s happy working with youth and trying to make a difference in their lives.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be anything but a youth pastor,” he said. “I love this.”