A broken youth pastor, on the brink of ending his ministry, drags himself to Northwestern to attend the Church Relations’ Youth Workers Resource Brunch. Surrounded by fellow youth workers, he finds himself embraced with prayer. He leaves, smiling, with a new determination to continue his ministry.
For Tim Elrod ’90, church relations director, that is what his job is all about. "My goal is to influence those in influence,” said Elrod. "Youth workers get busy and sometimes it’s hard for them to step back and see their impact on the world," he explained. “If these events can support their efforts and encourage them to keep going, then that’s good enough for me."
Supporting local youth workers may also support UNW by attracting prospective students eager for a Christ-centered education. "Promoting Northwestern is easy because it’s a great college," said Elrod, a former youth pastor. "My job is to provide [youth groups] with an event that has a Northwestern flair and encourages their walk with God. If a student later chooses to attend Northwestern as a result, then that’s icing on the cake."
Fall Kickoff, the most recent youth event, attracted nearly 700 students and youth workers. Dave Bostrom ’93, youth pastor at First Evangelical Free Church in Maplewood, Minn., brought 65 youth to the September event. "The event was a great kickoff to the new school year," said Bostrom. He added that guest speaker Greg Speck "challenged the students to be superheroes for Christ" and connected well with the group.
The ability to connect with youth is a goal at each event. However, like the discouraged youth pastor, it does not stop at the event. Elrod’s passion is to build upon the connections. "My heart is to bless the local church,” he expressed. "I want to enhance their ministry to expand the Kingdom of God."
Written by Melissa Therrien.