NAME: Kevin Young, M.Div., ’07
MY STORY: When someone from his church or the rehabilitation home approaches Kevin Young and shares a story of violence, murder, or drug addiction, he does not flinch. In fact, he relates. By the time Kevin was nine-years-old, he had witnessed the first of many murders committed in his rough Inglewood, California, neighborhood and saw his father cave to a life of drug addiction. In spite of his less than favorable childhood influences, Kevin's life stands as a testament to the effectiveness of education.
While growing up with significant obstacles, Kevin, senior pastor at Victory Outreach Church in Culver City, California, drew upon his mom's constant, positive influence. "My mom was a school teacher and believed in the power of education," said Kevin. "She drilled it into my head that academics provided a way up and out. So, today I use my pulpit and position in the rehabilitation home to preach education. I tell people that a life without an education is like being tethered to disappointment – it keeps you from growing."
The Victory Education and Training Institute (VETI) in El Monte, California, provides an ideal venue for Kevin to exercise his two great passions: education and ministry. As a VETI instructor and graduate, Kevin draws satisfaction from challenging and nurturing students in their learning and pastoral pursuits. "I love working with people who hunger to better themselves because God has touched their hearts," said Kevin. "I'm pretty tough as an instructor and don't allow anyone to slide by. But the results are well worth it when my students, most of whom were drug addicts, alcoholics, and gang members, discover they are more than capable of learning about and teaching God's Word."
Kevin models what he preaches as a student in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Program. He has been likewise stretched and energized by the M.Div. Program faculty. "My professors, especially Arlene Sanchez Walsh and Richard Zone, push me to process what I learn with vigor," said Kevin. "In turn, my ministry and teaching efforts have greater depth because I am more deliberate in how I preach and interact with my VETI students."
Kevin, who would like to pursue a Ph.D., acknowledges that he will probably be a student to some degree for the rest of his life because he enjoys the learning process. But he also believes through his academic pursuits, God can use him more effectively to impact the Kingdom. "I look at how God used Luke, Paul, Moses – all of whom were highly educated people – in such mighty ways, and I desire for God to use me in the same way," Kevin said. "But, I know there needs to be something for God to anoint, so I'm doing all I can to maximize my potential."