Reaching out to today's youths

Jackie Conley

Casually dressed in a navy blue T-shirt, cargo shorts and black flip

flops, topped off with a yellow visor, Darren Pollock doesn't quite

fit the look of an aspiring minister. However, the 25-year-old says

his new position at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church affirmed his

call to the ministry.

Pollock started his first day as the new director of the student

ministries at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church on July 2.

"I had to go to New Jersey to find this [church]," he joked.

After graduating from La Canada High School in 1997, Pollock

attended UC Davis and earned a bachelor's degree in classical

civilization. He then went on to Princeton Theological Seminary,

where he earned a master's of divinity degree. Although Pollock said

he wanted to travel, he's happy to be back in the community where he

grew up.

"I understand the youth in this area because this is where I came

from," he said.

Pollock's duties as a director will include overseeing the junior

and senior high Sunday schools and group nights.

"My goal in ministry is to help my students find their identity in

Christ," he said. "I want them (students) to acknowledge God's love

for them and it becoming a part of their being."

Pollock used his first day on the job to catch a movie with a few

students from the church, and on Wednesday, the Junior High Group met

at Pastor Andy Wilson's pool for a swim party. Later this summer,

Pollock said the group will attend camps and go white-water rafting.

"This is a time when kids crave acceptance and love," he said.

"God is the one place they'll find that."

Pollock said one way he plans to teach is to put the Scripture

into contemporary context by using metaphors and analogies.

"I think his personality will bring a wider variety of people to

the church that hasn't been here before," Chelsey Olsen, 16.

Wilson said because Pollock worked at the church as a full-time

intern for two summers, it didn't take much thought to decide who

would be right for the job.

"He knows our kids and our community," Wilson said. "But more

importantly, he loves the Lord."

Pollock also yodels, plays the guitar and sings.

"When you get to know him, you'll see he's a crazy guy, but really

intelligent," Sierra Williams, 17, said. "I'm excited to learn from

him."

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