Trinity’s new Youth Director brings a passion for connecting young people to the church.
At our Annual Meeting last November, Father Brad was pleased to announce our new Director of Youth Programs, Christopher Fulks. Chris, who joins us from the Church of the Holy Comforter, took time recently to talk a bit about himself and why youth ministry is so important to our church in an interview.
Tell us about yourself. What were you up to before you came to Trinity, and what else are you doing?
I grew up in South Charlotte/Matthews. I went to Matthews Elementary and Charlotte Latin High School. We attended a Lutheran Church when I was growing up, but I quit going to church at around 16 or so. I did not have the roots or foundation to carry me through that time in my life when ‘The World’ became such an alluring place.
I went to the College of Charleston and received a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communications. I owned a small real estate business in Charleston, SC specializing in rental and home owner association management. I really did not like it and ended up leaving it after about 5 years. I worked for South Carolina State Housing in their Section 8 department for 3 years before leaving to attend Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. I have completed about a year of class work their and am currently trying to discern whether to continue working on a Master’s in Divinity or possibly switch to a Christian Counseling or Teaching degree.
What drew you (or led you) to the job at Trinity, and what are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2016?
I found the job listed on the NC Episcopal Diocese website and just stopped by one day to talk to Father Brad. I really have found the congregation to be exceptionally welcoming and very warm.
Were you born into the Episcopal Church, or were you “assimilated”? (We have a big crowd of former Baptists, Methodists, etc. in our congregation.)
As I’d said, we attended a Lutheran church when I was young. I still really like the Lutheran Church. As I have moved around I have attended Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Non-Denominational and Catholic churches. From 16 to 36 I was not involved in any church anywhere and my life was very unhappy. I had a very miraculous experience with the Holy Spirit about seven years ago and during that time I prayed as to which church I should attend. He pushed me towards the Episcopal church.
Why is youth ministry work important to you?
When I was young I was not very involved in the church. We went to church some Sunday’s and sometimes we didn’t. We were not active at all in the church outside of Sunday. I think this left me without any roots or foundation in faith. We did not study the Bible or read the Bible at home and we did not discuss God. When this is the case any little trouble or wind in life can push you away from God for a long time. I could have avoided a lot of pain and feelings of being lost had I had deeper roots and a real faith. I just want to yell that message to anyone who will listen.
Encourage your children to be active in the church, have Bible study every night with your children, discuss God and why we are here. Encourage questions. Faith cannot not be built if you don’t have questions, and then seek the answers to those questions. That is the ‘rock’ that faith is built on. Why do so many families go to the greatest lengths imaginable to prepare their kids for a successful career in this world but give such little attention to their lives after this world?
We are only here for about 80 years. Life after Earth is everlasting eternity. It would be like going to incredible lengths to prepare your child for kindergarten and then totally neglecting the rest of their education. Whenever I felt rejected by the world, whether it was a relationship, or a job, or friends, or family issues such as divorce, I became angry. If I had a deep relationship with Christ during those events in my life I would have been much more able to deal with them in a healthy manner.
How can Trinity’s congregation help your work?
Please, please, please encourage the youth to be active every Sunday and also during the week in Youth Group activities. Parents need to be active in this process too. Youth Group should probably be called Families with Youth Group.