David Young grew up in New Jersey, close to NYC; while he’s since shed the northeast accent (with the exception of a few words) he’s still proud to be a Giants fan – informing the uninformed that they’re actually a NJ team. He grew up literally next door to church and his dad was the pastor. The youngest of nine siblings, as a child he was sent to special education with learning disabilities (back then they just called it “dumb”) and for some behavior modification. This experience, his family, and especially his dad shaped the trajectory of his life.
The rebellious pastor’s kid is a cliché; they move away from God and His church, and that happened to David as well. Just like the shoemaker’s children who go barefoot, so too the children of busy pastors are neglected as their father pours his time and energy into the church.
David dealt with this tension by running away from home, but providentially accomplished that via mission trips in his teens. God used those trips to work in David’s heart, who soon put his complete life’s trust in Christ, and responded to God’s calling to serve Him.
On these trips, he developed a passion for God’s global work and learned to appreciate the diversity of cultures, religions, and peoples. During the school year he’d boldly share his love for Jesus and about his experience serving. One of his teachers once asked, “Are you going to be a preacher like your dad?” and David responded, “I’ll do anything God wants me to do except become a preacher like my Dad!” The wounds had not yet healed.
God planted three seeds in David’s heart during his youth that have since taken root and grown, fertilized by those wounds. First, he developed a deep longing for meaningful relationships. This can be seen in how he prioritizes time with his own family, how he’s turned down career advancement when it wasn’t right for them, and how he consistently limits his work hours. In addition, David and his wife Maryanne have grown the most in small groups of Christ followers where there was authentic sharing, appropriate vulnerability, support, and examples to follow. This relationally-based spiritually formation is why David pursued a Masters in Christian Counseling—a longing to facilitate spiritual and emotional health.
In his twenties, David put the discord with his dad behind him and this allowed his second passion to take root and grow. With God’s healing he grew a deep love, first for God as Father, and also for the movement known as the church. Eventually he went into full-time pastoral ministry, as a lead pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The calling to communicate God’s word regularly, clearly, and practically became a great joy. His goal is to consistently cast the vision of the church as a grassroots diverse movement of people who glorify Christ above as their king, are enabled by their intimate communion with Christ in them, and are called to bring Christ outward to others.
David’s third passion started as a teen but wasn’t fully realized until his mid-thirties. God’s calling to serve globally went onto the back burner when he found his love for the church and became a pastor. David mistakenly thought he had to choose one of two career paths: missionary or pastor. Then he discovered that there are English-speaking churches in most major global cities, filled with people who have been scattered around the world – God’s diaspora. These people are from dozens of countries; they’re away from their home country due to career opportunities or because they’re immigrants or refugees. A special combination apostolic/pastoral role is needed to gather together these scattered, diverse peoples into loving community, equip and enable them, then see them scattered out into new places of life and ministry. This apostolic/pastoral ministry in the context of the global church is the focus of his current research.
David’s story is a tribute that God can take a wounded, rebellious PK, who struggled academically and socially, and use him for his purposes as a communicator of God’s Word, practitioner of authentic loving community, and catalyst for miss
David and his wife Maryanne have been happily married for 28+ years. They have two children, Karis (17) and Hannah (14). The Young family live near one of the most diverse cities in the world . . . Houston! David is currently a student at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program, is studying Leadership & Global Perspectives, and is a part of the LGP5 Cohort.
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Appreciate your story, Dave. A message of hope and reconciliation.