Tag Archives: Brent Camilleri

Journeying In Faith

By Steve Kriss, Executive Minister, and Mary Nitzsche, Associate Executive Minister

Brent, Danilo and Mike

As Conference Youth Minister John Stoltzfus completed six years in that role with Franconia Conference in July, he stated, “As a conference we need to continue to ask the question of how we are passing on the faith and work of the church to the next generation. How are we doing as a church in modeling a self-giving faith centered in Jesus Christ? We will need to place our trust and hope in a revealing God who has been faithful for many generations. We trust that the same Spirit that is at work in our lives will continue to live and move in our children and the next generation of the gathered body of Christ.”

The reality of congregational and conference youth ministry is changing. Conference has been aware of this. Two years ago the Board invited a taskforce to review how conference equips youth ministers, leaders and the youth. John was a part of this process. The task force results and recommendations should be available in the next months.

In August, John and his wife Paula relocated to Harrisonburg, VA where Paula began a pastoral role at Park View Mennonite Church.  Before leaving, John helped to develop an interim plan for continuing Conference youth ministry. Recognizing that youth ministry requires the work of many, three youth pastors have volunteered to serve in the following roles for the next school year: Brent Camilleri, associate pastor of Deep Run East, is assuming leadership for facilitating the ongoing monthly youth pastor gathering; Mike Ford, pastor of youth at Blooming Glen Mennonite Church, is coordinating the Spring Junior High Late Night Blast; Danilo Sanchez, associate pastor of Whitehall and co-pastor of Ripple, will continue to serve on Mennonite Church USA Youth Ministry Council and be a liaison to the denomination.

Conference is grateful for the willingness and readiness of Danilo, Mike and Brent, who bring long histories of service and leadership in our Conference to carry extra responsibilities over the next months ensuring our youth and their leaders continue to be supported and equipped. This interim arrangement gives Conference time to continue the review process and discernment before making any long-term decisions regarding Conference youth ministry.  We value your prayers for continued discernment in next steps as we together imagine Conference-wide youth ministry into the future that is rooted in our shared Anabaptist values and carries out our shared priorities of (trans)formation that is both missional and intercultural in the way of Christ’s peace.

Seeking and finding God’s unfailing love

Brent Camilleri

seeking_love.jpgI was blessed to grow up in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord and tried to honor Christ in all that they did. As I grew up they continually encouraged my faith, answered questions I had about being a Christian, and made it clear that I was a child who was loved and cared for by God. My father especially encouraged me to not only say that I was a Christian but also live out my faith through words and actions.

In high school I had a teacher who worked part time with a local youth ministry. He was enthusiastic about his faith and a great mentor to my friends and I. He was the first person to speak to me about my leadership gifts and the possibility of going into ministry. Later in high school my youth pastor, Chris, invited me to do an internship with him because he also saw me as a leader. With Chris’ help I truly started to live out my faith. He encouraged and challenged me to seek after God.

Through that relationship I learned a great deal about youth ministry and, for the first time, felt God calling me to pursue it as a career. My youth pastor affirmed that call and I decided to study youth ministry at Eastern University. There I was able to explore the call to ministry through both study and an internship. I developed strong relationships with my professors and fellow students and was further affirmed in my call to ministry.

After college I served as the youth pastor intern at Deep Run East congregation. Through this time I was able to learn more about myself as a ministering person. I have learned that I am a relational person, I am at my best when I can develop relationships with others and minister out of those relationships.

I have also found that I enjoy teaching and discovering ways to relate scriptural truth through relevant or contemporary illustrations. There is no greater feeling than working with a group of students and seeing them begin to “get” what this whole faith thing is about. Visioning for ministry is also something that excites me and I enjoy finding new and interesting ways to help others live out their faith.

There are certainly many things that I have had to learn as I seek to live out the call that God has placed on my life. Delegation is not a skill that comes naturally to me. I feel it is easier for me to take care of everything myself. However, I’ve quickly discovered shouldering every responsibility is an impossible task and that good administration also means good delegation.

As I continue to grow in my leadership abilities and explore my call, I have found that having a strong group of trusted friends and mentors is a key to my ministry. There is so much to be learned from the experiences of others and I feel my ministry is cultivated through these relationships. I have a group of friends from college that holds me accountable and helps me to remember how fun it is to serve the Lord!

I also meet regularly with a pastoral mentor who has already been through all the things I am now experiencing in my ministry. It is helpful to have someone who can point out where I might be able to improve and who can also keep me from making the mistakes they made in their own ministry. As I continue to learn what it means to be in ministry I am constantly amazed by the unfailing love of God. No matter what stresses I have faced and hiccups I have encountered along the way, God has been faithful to lift me up and keep me going. I look forward to the many new ways I will meet God in the coming years as I follow His calling on my life.