By Will Hadley
Hunter Fortson is a student at Oklahoma Christian University, hailing from Robinson, TX. Fortson plans to graduate with a degree in youth ministry in the spring of 2020. Fortson is an active member in the social club Chi Lambda Phi and served as rush director during the 2018-2019 school year. Fortson has had a great amount of experience in youth ministry which will help him in his search for a full-time job.
Fortson has worked as a youth ministry intern at Legacy Church of Christ in North Richland Hills, TX, The Park Church of Christ in Tulsa, OK, and Westbury Church of Christ in Houston, TX. Fortson has a passion for witnessing teenagers grow spiritually and guiding them through struggles through the showing of love and grace. Fortson will begin interviewing for full-time jobs in March of 2020 and hopes to find a church with a good foundation of leadership he can call his home.
Q. Describe the perfect student to teach in youth ministry.
A. As much as I want to list qualities that I love in students to make one that is perfect, I just don’t think that is possible. I say that because I don’t believe there is such thing as a perfect student. Every student struggles with different things, and every student needs different ways to be ministered to, so what makes my job so difficult is finding those ways. I believe that the best way to find God is through being broken and allowing God to put you back together. So my job is less of keeping them perfect and more of giving them the tools to deal with the struggles that life gives them. Now, in terms of a student that makes a big impact in the youth group, I love when a student is able to lead. More importantly, when a student is a leader and is slacking in leading others to Christ, I love when they are open to me calling them out and that they strive to fix those things.
Q. Who has been your biggest role model in youth ministry and why?
A. I would have to say Jamie Simmons, the youth minister at The Park Church of Christ in Tulsa. He is just so level-headed, and he has such an obvious passion for youth ministry. When Jamie speaks, you can easily see the passion that he has for his job showing. That kind of passion is something that I strive to have one day. Jamie has always had an incredible ability to counsel others. He ended up pursuing a master’s degree in counseling that he has completed. When anyone is going through a struggle, he is the first person to sit down and talk with them. While he is typically a pretty serious person, he has a really fun side to him as well. Jamie is always the first person to get in on any sort of competition, talk smack and try his hardest to win. Being able to flip that switch is something that I really would like to be able to do.
Q. What is your biggest weakness when it comes to youth ministry?
A. Definitely my time management skills. That is something that I need to do a much better job of working on. I tend to focus a lot on the relational side of youth ministry and through that, I neglect the more logistical aspects of it as well. This past summer, I spent a lot of time hanging out with kids, which isn’t a bad thing, but I procrastinated writing lessons and planning events because of it. It’s extremely important in youth ministry to be able to prioritize those things and put spiritual growth above everything else. Another improvement that needs to be made is in my teaching abilities. That is something that I plan on growing in throughout my entire career, however, it gets frustrating not being able to relay certain messages as well as I would like.
Q. If you could go back and change one thing about your time at Oklahoma Christian, what would you change and why?
A. I would definitely branch out more, be more social and make more connections. A lot of days I would tend to stay in my room and keep to myself instead of stepping out into campus and connecting with people. I am a firm believer in stepping out of your comfort zone, and I think when we do that as people, we are able to find new experiences that benefit us in the long run. The problem with that is that I don’t always practice what I preach. I tend to stay within my comfort zone, and I’m often scared to step out of it. That is definitely something that I need work in.
Q. Is a hot dog a sandwich?
A. Yes, definitely.
Q. Marvel or DC Comics movies?
Q. What is your favorite sports team?
A. The Dallas Cowboys.
Q. If you had to think of yourself as any animal, what would it be?
A. A fox, because I have red hair and I am feisty.
This article was completed as an assignment in an upper-level journalism course. It was edited by Talon staff and approved for publication.