December 6, 2017 | Charis Saenz
Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumnus, Troy Davis, was recently chosen as the new District Youth Director (DYD) of North Carolina.
Davis and his wife, Holly, have 20 years of student ministry experience and previously served as Fine Arts Coordinators for the North Carolina District. Davis was selected to serve as the new DYD this past September after the National Fine Arts Convention.
“Ministry on the local end was coming to an end for us, and we still felt called to youth,” Davis says. “We saw this as an opportunity to have a greater influence in the district.”
As the North Carolina DYD, Davis supports youth ministries in his district and focuses on the national efforts of Speed the Light, an organization that raises funds for Assemblies of God missionaries. Davis is also responsible for networking with youth pastors and overseeing youth conventions, summer camps, and Fine Arts on a state level. He says seeing different youth groups is one of the joys of the job.
“We come along these youth pastors and (we’re) partnering with them, cheering them on, encouraging them and being a resource for them,” says Davis.
As he travels the state of North Carolina, Davis connects with youth pastors in the district. Davis says he has the opportunity to have automatic moments of impact when he can sit across from youth pastors, drink coffee with them, and encourage them in their efforts. “For them to feel that they have a part in this district too, for them to feel validated, for them to feel valued as a youth pastor is huge,” he says.
The transition from local ministry to ministry at a district level has allowed Davis to grow as he evaluates how he can support youth pastors amidst the unique challenges they face. “It’s challenging me and forcing me to dig in deep again,” he says. Davis says that the same mentality won’t work for every youth group; ministry mentalities have to be individually fashioned. “Everybody has their own story,” he says. “No two youth groups are alike.”
Davis describes North Carolina Youth Ministries as a team, and as he partners with youth pastors, there’s no hierarchy of the district over local ministry. His vision for the department is to support youth ministries in getting better together one step at a time. “We want to collectively grow as a state,” Davis says. “Our vision is to make our conventions, camps, and other events more impactful, bigger, better.”
The North Carolina Youth Ministries team recently hosted their annual district youth convention. It was Davis’s first major event only six weeks after being in office, and it's turned out to be one of the largest conventions the district has hosted since 2005. “We had a great team around us and we pulled some new guys on the team,” Davis says. “You can tell the momentum has shifted. Excitement is in the state and people are excited about the direction we’re going, what we’re doing.”
At the convention, Davis witnessed students called into full-time ministry and missions. The theme of this year’s conference was “Rise Up” which is exactly what Davis and his team hope to see students do. “We’re asking students to rise up in their homes, to rise up in their churches and be leaders that God has called them to be,” Davis says.
Leading leaders and being a spiritual father has been a life goal for Davis. He was radically saved at the age of 17 and felt called to step up as a student leader in his local church. “God called me to help kids not make the same mistakes I made and to help be a light,” he says.
The call to mentor students caused Davis to seek formal ministry education. He spent time at the Louisiana Youth Ministries Institute (YMI) which was directed by current SAGU professor, Dr. Rob Blakney. Following his time at YMI, Davis enrolled at SAGU where he earned a Church Ministries degree with a focus on youth ministry. “I needed that formal setting and that foundation that SAGU gave me in the Word, in the ministry and what it called me through daily,” he says.
Davis challenges students who feel called to ministry to apply their classroom knowledge to practical settings and to learn from relationships within the church. He says he and his wife are still impacted by their spiritual family in Texas. “Don’t let education be the only thing you learn from,” Davis says. “While you’re in school, find a local church and get connected.”
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The university was established in 1927, and now offers more than 70 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu