First Presbyterian Church in Cherokee has a new youth pastor. Adrian McMullen has only been at his new post for the last few months, and already is excited about the positive changes he has been able to be a part of with the youth programs at the church.
McMullen is originally from Paullina and graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in speech communication with a minor in music. After graduating from college he sort fell into his profession as a youth pastor. He says the career found him about twelve years ago.
He was working as President of a church camp in Okoboji when someone offered him a job as a youth pastor in Worthington, Minn. After three years there he was again offered another youth pastor position in Fort Dodge and from there he has arrived in Cherokee.
He finds that Cherokee is familiar because he grew up in the area but it is different from the bigger town of Fort Dodge. He says it has been fun running into people he knew in high school.
McMullen loves working in the church and says it is very rewarding working with the youth. He likes helping them work through their problems. As a youth pastor he is able to provide youth a way to talk to someone openly and honestly without criticism.
The youth programs at the Presbyterian Church are a great asset to the church. He says it is a great way to have youth grow deeper in their faith. They learn to love their church and church family, which will ultimately help the church grow. He points out that there are great youth and families that are a part of the church. They have made him feel welcome.
A few changes have taken place since his arrival. The establishment of Kingdom Kids for first through fourth grade kids was challenging to get started but it was necessary to serve the needs of church members. Kingdom Kids meet each Wednesday at 6 p.m. They open with a lesson and music and generally have a craft, play games and close with journaling.
At 6:15 p.m. the Middle School Youth Club begins for grades five through eight. Confirmation for the seventh and eighth grade students takes place part of the time while the fifth and sixth graders participate in other activities. Then the remainder of the time is spent together.
Presbyterian Youth Connection (PYC) begins on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. The ninth through twelfth graders enjoy games, friendly competitions and sometimes fun and outrageous activities. They also have a small group time where they ask questions, do some reflecting, and sharing.
McMullen says for all of the youth programs, sharing is an important part of the program. This helps the youth bond with each other and develop a network of friends that they know they can turn to when needed.
The youth at the church have many other opportunities. Annually they are able to attend summer camps and every three years there is a Youth Conference at Purdue University. McMullen says the youth conference is a fantastic event with youth from all over the country in attendance. The energy and enthusiasm of the youth at the conference is phenomenal.
He is also working with church board members on developing a mission trip for the older youth. They were all excited about the possibilities, suggesting places like Fiji. He suggested they start somewhere closer and work their way outward.
On a personal note, McMullen loves to watch any college sports and likes to play basketball. Eventually, he would like to get involved as a volunteer at the schools, helping with things like tutoring. He also points out, in a fun way, that he is an eligible bachelor. He is a welcome addition to the Presbyterian Church in Cherokee.