Kelly Fellows was appointed national NextGen director on Sept. 1, 2009, filling the vacancy left when James Craft was appointed senior pastor of Sonrise Foursquare Church in Simi Valley, Calif. Kelly transitioned to national NextGen director from his position as NextGen director for the Southwest District of Foursquare Churches. He has extensive pastoral experience with children, youth and adults. He and his wife, Leah, have been youth pastors and senior pastors, youth directors for two districts, and also served as part of the Foursquare national youth ministry in the late 1990s, directing regional and national conferences. Read more about Kelly at www.foursquare.org/youth.
When did you first get involved with children’s/youth ministry, and how did you first know that was where God wanted you to be?
One Sunday morning when I was 18, I was recruited by an enthusiastic man named George Mangum to help get a youth group started at New Life Chapel in Hesperia, Calif. The next Wednesday night, there were five kids and three adults praying for God to reach this generation—I was hooked. After two years and 250 kids later, I knew I had been created, called and commissioned to the next generation.
Why are you passionate about leading the NextGen ministry?
I met Jesus Christ when I was 17. I was hopeless and desperate for meaning to life. God revealed His love for me, and I discovered that He had a plan for my life. He gave me meaning and purpose. Today there are so many children and youth who are just like I was, that I can’t imagine doing anything else in life except to reach them. And the most effective way for me to reach those millions of children and youth is by helping those who work with them—the kids and youth leaders around the nation. My vision is to help those NextGen leaders fulfill their vision.
What are your plans for the first year as NextGen director?
Now that we have a new team of leaders in Foursquare called district NextGen directors, my primary focus will be to collaborate with these great men and women to develop an integrated approach to children’s, youth and young adult ministries under the umbrella of Foursquare NextGen.
How will you stay connected to kids/teens now that you are not in a church setting?
It’s easy for me to stay connected through my involvement with those in my very own household. I have two daughters (Rachel, 12; Emma, 9) who are very involved in our local community and church. I volunteer at both of their schools and coach volleyball. I will also continue to serve in my local church as a volunteer youth leader.
What is your most memorable story from youth ministry?
Two years ago I was attending a conference when Joan Tyler and her husband, Caleb, pastors in Corona, Calif., came up to me to say hello. She reminded me that she was a young student in my youth ministry 21 years earlier. She told me she wanted to come over to say thank you. I couldn’t imagine why, until she said: “Kelly, you led me to Jesus 21 years ago, and I am in ministry today because of your faithfulness and love for God—thank you.”
By: Marcia Graham, editor of Foursquare.org