There is movie after movie that tells the story of the unlikely hero that makes it through the big training montage and ends up the one to save the world. Ross Patterson is still in the training montage, but you can surmise that what comes next for this dynamic and driven youth leader will be spectacular.
Ross says that he was that wise cracking, class clown type of teen when we began showing up at Sligo Youth events in his junior year in High School. He had joined in on the fun created by then youth pastor, Terry Johnson. Terry's program consisted of quite a few social events, with many youth attending each event. Ross, like many teens his age, was completely non-committal, but began get more and more interested.
Ross' perception of the circumstances that led to his being offered a position of leadership at Sligo suggested that he was not their first choice. In fact, to Ross, it felt like he was third string and that the only reason he was asked was simply because everyone else had said no. He was asked to sign a one year contract in order to join the young staff of Pastor Terry Johnson's youth program. He reluctantly signed and then found himself signing again and again each following year.
Thirteen years later, Ross Patterson is the youth director for Sligo Church and has been for the last 6 years. He's been a part of the ministries of Pastor Terry Johnson, Pete Garza, Pastor Pranitha Fielder and now Joseph Khabbaz.
Ross says, "It's way different now. Now I have to make real decisions. It can be a tough job. The youth are the same as always, but with so many different challenges. They view social media as a big part of their social lives and it's harder to get them to show up." Ross is dedicated and determined to reach every youth that comes under his influence.
Ross and the SYD Team (Sligo Youth Department) work hard with consistent programs that are often one on one and interactive and are growing our youth closer to Jesus Christ.
Ross says, "I want to give my SYD leaders something to walk away with. I think this trains my team to be greater leaders when they leave. This is exemplified by the kind of amazing ministry leaders and pastors that have come out of the Sligo Youth Department over it's many years, and Ross has had a part in 13 of those years.
"I love mission work," comments Ross as he talks about the 16 different mission trips he's been a part of. "I only missed this last summer's because of my torn achilles". Ross has seen more than his fair share of injuries having had a few major surgeries on both knees and his achilles tendon. But the support of his friends and leadership at Sligo church have helped to bolster his faith and help him through.
"Looking back," Ross says, "if I had known what was coming I might have felt defeated, but I would want to tell myself to have hope. For God, the miracle is not about making someone who is already equipped into a leader that is the miracle. The miracle is finding someone who is the most unlikely and making them into a leader"
Ross endeavors to do something pleasing to God, whatever he does in the future. He knows that wherever you go you can touch someone through the reflection of Christ in your life.
Ross, this is a challenge that, no matter how tough the road is ahead, we know you'll be successful. May God continue to bless you in your amazing ministry!