Steve Young, senior pastor of Rexburg Christian Center, a Foursquare church in Rexburg, Idaho, was named Idaho Principal of the Year in April. An educator for the past 39 years, the 61-year-old minister serves his community as the “alternative principal” of Jefferson High School. This is the first time an alternative principal has ever received the honor.
Nearly 40 percent of students who attend the school are on probation, according to an article by Megan Boatwright, one of the area’s Local News 8 reporters. But not one fight has occurred on campus in four years. The report noted that Young knows all his students by name. He also knows their grades, where they live, and the things they struggle with. It’s all part of his calling, he told Foursquare.org in an exclusive interview.
“God called me to ministry; God called me to work as a principal in my alternative high school,” he says. “The job is the same—I must model what it is to be a Christian and give my life away to others.”
The pastor-educator believes the dual roles are mutually complementary, noting that being a bi-vocational pastor serves as a credible example of how we as believers “can take Jesus out of the church on Sunday and into the workplace on Monday.”
So what drives his passion? As a pastor, he says, his greatest delight is seeing members of his congregation living lives of service in all areas—family, workplace and community—”not in activism, but in love produced by an authentic daily relationship with Jesus.” Similarly, as a principal, nothing is better than seeing changed lives.
“My greatest joy as an alternative principal,” he explains, “is seeing many of my students come out of addiction, stop being victims, take responsibility for their lives and graduate from high school. The most important thing I do is love my students and my staff—which has been a natural flow out of being a pastor.”