A Heart for Youth: From Sports Coach to Student Pastor

Daniel Fawcett, Writing Intern

Aaron Crumbey, a.k.a. “AC” grew up in a family full of strong role models. Nine of his uncles are pastors and church was always a second home for him. And as he grew as a young man and a young Christian, AC followed in their steps. But his path to ministry started in a unique way—he discovered his heart for youth through coaching teen sports teams.

“What began as a way to be competitive turned into a ministry for me,” says AC. “I was able to teach biblical principles to the kids and their parents. I never tried to convert them, I just tried to model Christ to them. I still talk to those parents and their kids, and now that I’m a youth pastor, I’ve been able to talk to them about God.” It was this heart to be a Christian model to young men that kept AC involved in youth ministry. He moved to California from Michigan in 2007 and began volunteering for Saddleback’s student ministry. Two years later he joined the staff as the Student Care Pastor.

As the Student Care Pastor, AC helps students as they struggle through faith and family issues. AC knows what that struggle is like. Growing up in a Christian home doesn’t guarantee your faith will be strong. It’s something that AC had to find out for himself, and he loves to help students do the same.

“I definitely feel that God has called me to youth ministry.” Seeing God work in people’s lives is what keeps him motivated.