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McAllen, TX

February 28, 2018 | Andrew Hurst

Areli Ortiz leading a McAllen Network meeting

Areli Ortiz walked the stage to receive her college diploma from Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) just two years ago. Since then, she has been blessed by the opportunities and doors God has opened for her in ministerial career including her most recent milestone.

Ortiz officially stepped into her new role as the Youth Director for AG Texas Gulf Hispanic District McAllen Network this past January after being elected in September of 2017.

“Being elected as the Network Youth Director came as a surprise,” says Ortiz. “As a young, single female who has only been in youth ministry for two years, I most definitely feel honored.”

The network is composed of 22 churches in seven neighboring cities. Ortiz’s role involves planning network youth events during the year, communicating information from the District Youth Director’s office along with connecting with and equipping youth leaders.

“I’m a firm believer that God’s will is for us to be a body,” she says. “I’m looking forward to facilitating unity among youth pastors/leaders, paving the way for new ideas and structures to be interchanged. I know what it’s like to be a new youth pastor with no resources or contacts, so it is very rewarding to walk alongside other youth leaders that need help. But of course, I also learn from them!”

Ortiz’s new position is adherent to serving in ministry. Therefore, Ortiz will continue to serve as Youth Pastor at Templo Bethel Asamblea De Dios in Pharr, Texas.

“My church is very supportive, and my pastors cheer me on,” she says.

Along with full-time ministry, Ortiz believes that attending meetings and showing interest in the affairs and operations of the network has contributed to being elected as the Network Youth Director. She regularly shared her input and offered to help in any way she could. She was asked to help with the youth and soon thereafter her name was brought up as a candidate. “When the time of voting for network officials came, I looked around the room and realized that since I enjoy speaking to ministers and had been doing so at district and network events, I had already made a connection with most of the voting ministers in the room,” she says.

Ortiz also believes her time at SAGU has played a significant role in her ministry. Ortiz was an English Education major. However, the Bible courses she took as part of SAGU’s curriculum were fundamental in her understanding of the Word and has aided her in her pursuit of full-time ministry. She received ministry experience outside of the classroom through her involvement with Southwestern Missions Association (SMA) by leading several prayer groups and missions trips.

“I constantly look back and thank God for the privilege of having attended SAGU,” she says.

In response to advice for college students pursuing ministry, she says, “My biggest advice would be to sow into your ministry. Be faithful in both finances (as little as they may be) and with your time. Although it’s good to visit churches to see different perspectives and obtain new ideas, be faithful to “your” church, whether back home or near school. Love your pastor and other ministers you meet. Bother them with questions about the big things and the small things in their life and write their answers down. The little snippets of wisdom they share with you will be worth gold one day when you face those same struggles.”

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

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