Eddie Erwin to Serve Conference as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

Date Posted: 3/26/2015

Eddie Erwin is a name that many in the Texas Annual Conference (TAC) have likely heard – particularly in youth ministry circles. As he prepares to join the staff of the Texas Annual Conference this summer, he considers how God has led him to this opportunity.
“I’ve grown up in the Houston area at Ashford UMC, where my parents are still members,” Eddie shares. “While I started in youth ministry in sixth grade and participated in district and conference events, it wasn’t until I walked into Sunday school one morning in my junior year of high school that significantly changed how God was shaping my life. There, on a table, was an information sheet and application to go on a Conference youth mission trip to Russia, led by the late Rev. Rusty Watkins. While this trip was an amazing opportunity, it formatively shaped my understanding of what it meant to be a connectional church, not only through the Conference, but worldwide. This experience led me to a true and deeper understanding of what ministry with youth is all about.” 

Throughout college, Eddie was a youth ministry summer intern with several churches in the Texas Conference, as well as one in Norman, Oklahoma, as he completed a degree in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma. Adds Eddie, “While at OU, I was also active in the Wesley Foundation, where on the fall retreat my freshman year, I happened to meet and play volleyball with a young woman from Klein, Texas.  After a six-month moratorium on speaking to me, from a geographical disagreement that she wasn’t actually from Houston, we started dating and eventually got married at Klein UMC in July of 2004.  That August, I began working at Lakewood UMC as the Assistant Director.” 
Throughout his time at Lakewood, Eddie led many Bible Studies, Sunday school lessons, worship services and admittedly “eaten way too many slices of pizza.” He adds, “I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of the life and faith journeys of many adolescents and their families.  In my ministry, there have been some great success, a few failures, lots of laughter and a few tears.” In 2012, he completed the Certification in Youth Ministry from Perkins School of Theology.  He describes his passion this way, “As I’ve risen to become Director of Student Ministries and leading a stupendous staff, volunteers and parents, the things I love most about youth ministry is seeing a student really experience or understand faith for themselves.” 
He feels blessed to have been a part of many District and Conference events and retreats.  “During U.M. ARMY, JUMMPs, BIG HOUSE and other mission trips, I have slept on the floor of churches more times than I can count,” he jokes.
Is his passion obvious? He is currently serving as the Central North District Lay leader, an Annual, Jurisdictional & General Conference delegate, as well as a quadrennial term with the Division on Ministries with Young People, part of Discipleship ministries, with the worldwide Methodist Church. 
He shares about the other passions in his life. “My wife, Emily, and I have three children, Quint, Kate, and Corbin James, who keep us quite busy with sports and scouts, in addition to thinking they are in charge of Lakewood and the school where she teaches 3rd grade.  When time allows, I love to get outdoors to fish, bike, camp or play on the water. We are very excited for where God is leading us in this next chapter in our lives.  I am thankful for this opportunity, blessed with the support of our families and friends, and thrilled for what God has in store for the Kingdom and the Texas Annual Conference.”
Key Responsibilities
In this redefined role, Eddie will lead the Conference in imagining, conducting, and investing in youth and young adults throughout the Annual Conference. According to Rev. Jeff Olive, Director of New Church Starts, “In order to raise the visibility, viability, and creativity of ministry with young people in the TAC, Eddie will undoubtedly be an extraordinary talent scout, a team-builder, a collaborator, and a superb communicator with a light touch.” The search team sought a candidate who has a passion for supporting, encouraging, and coaching new leaders in youth ministry; who is fed by helping others’ ministries thrive; can establish strong networks; and finds joy in creating a clear path for youth ministers to succeed. This Ministry Director position has a three-fold focus:  (1) Training (2) Connecting and (3) Empowering.
Adds Jeff, “The search team began with clarifying the future direction for the position. Then they began to seek to find the best possible candidate to fit future priorities. There was not an assumption this person would come from within the TAC, but after a national search Eddie Erwin stood at the top of the list. Eddie’s gifts and vision for this position make him the perfect candidate. His years of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the TAC are an added bonus!” Eddie shares, “I am thrilled at the updated vision for this role, and that ministry with youth and young adults so seamlessly fits with the foci of the TAC.  This is a significant investment in the young, but we will also be transforming leaders and growing vibrant churches!”