Dave Nearpass meets all sorts of children. One young boy in particular landed himself in trouble numerous times throughout junior high and high school. The boy was intelligent, but had never been told so or encouraged by many people in his life. That all changed when he met Dave.
“I watched this student’s grades improve and saw him graduate from high school with a 3.5 GPA,” Dave said. “Now he plans to go to Huntington to study youth ministry himself.”
Dave graduated from Huntington University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in youth ministry. After graduation, he moved out to his old PRIME location in Paramount, Calif., and took a position at Emmanual Reformed Church as the high school student ministry coordinator.
At Emmanual Reformed, Dave involves himself in several community outreach projects. He volunteers to paint the homes of locals, helps feed the homeless and tutors middle school students in an afterschool program.
“We try to swarm the city of Paramount and just do good,” Dave said.
Dave said HU did an excellent job in preparing him for ministry — especially going away on PRIME. He learned what it takes to be an effective youth minister.
Like most ministry students, Dave spent seven months during the summer and fall semester before his senior year in a location he chose and received hands-on experience in the ministry field setting.
Along with the ministry experience he received during his PRIME, Dave also served as a campus ministry coordinator and volunteered with the Joe Mertz Center for volunteer service.
“I wanted to apply what I was learning in the classroom, and I found opportunities to get involved,” Dave said.
Dave also signed up to travel to Israel for the J-term trip his junior year.
“Dr. Mark Fairchild took us all over the Holy Land,” Dave said. “The trip changed my life forever and brought the Bible to life for me. My view of God got a lot bigger for me when I could see, firsthand, that Jesus really did come to Earth. Now I can show my students what I’m talking about during my sermons.”
Along with the academic preparation, Dave also appreciates the relational experiences he had with friends outside of the classroom.
“The campus is an environment filled with people who value and understand the significance of relationships,” he said. “My closest friend is from HU, and he stood up with me at my wedding. You know you have a quality friendship when your friend makes his way out to California to celebrate with you. Huntington spoils you with a lot of good people.”
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