Youth Pastor Spotlight: Paul Eikelan

Where did you grow up?

I spent the first 16 years of my life on an acreage outside of Stony Plain, AB (20 minutes west of Edmonton) After my dad passed away, we moved into Spruce Grove, and I spent the rest of high school in Spruce Grove commuting back and forth to Stony Plain for school (Memorial #represent 🙌🏻)

If you were stranded at a Mexican gas station, what’s one book you’d want to have with you (with exception to the Bible)?

I REFUSE to be stranded with only one book....I try to read as much as possible (thanks to my brother in law mentor.....seriously.... the amount that guy reads is ridiculous!!!!) and if I'm traveling anywhere, I will have at least 5 -10 books with me! Thank goodness for iPhones!! Here's my top 8:

  1. How successful people grow - John Maxwell
  2. Outwitting the devil - Napoleon Hill
  3. Turn The Ship Around - L David Marquet (best leadership book I've read)
  4. The Shack - William Young (has some weird concepts, but the overall theme of forgiveness in this parable is something I wish every Disciple of Jesus could learn and live out in their lives)
  5. Love and Respect - Emerson Eggerichs (i recommend this all the time to married couples, or to singles that want to prepare ahead of time for a healthy relationship in the future)
  6. Becoming Your Own Banker - R Nelson Nash
  7. Wild At Heart - John Eldredge
  8. Every Mans Battle - Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

What’s your favorite movie show of all time?

Gladiator

Do you remember when and where you were called to ministry? 

Looking back, I think as a disciple of Jesus, my whole entire life is a ministry! But, during THE WORST season of my life 4- 5 years ago was when God really started giving me a heart to do what I could (as small as I felt it was) specifically for the teens around me. That involved showing up every Friday for 2 years at Gospel Centre Merge Youth to invest in and build relationships with some pretty amazing teens and leaders! (I also learned a TON from Pastor's Murray, Matthieu and Alisha)Then a year and a half ago I got a random phone call from my old youth pastor asking me to lunch. On the drive, God told me to say yes to whatever Pastor Chris asked me to do.

At the lunch Pastor Chris asked me:

  1. To run the Spartan race with him, and
  2. That I needed to pray about joining the staff at Spruce Grove Community Church because they had been praying about hiring a youth pastor and God kept putting me on their hearts.

Shocked and taken aback, I had to pray for three more months and get two more specific words from God confirming it, before I agreed and said yes 😂! That's the short version of my call into ministry lol!

What’s one food that you can’t stand?

Porridge..... why anyone would choose to eat a big bowl of snot is beyond me. #childhoodwounds #kidding #notkidding #thankyoucounselling #lol

Any pet peeves?

Open mouth chewers, when people make fun of others (even if it is "just a joke"), when people talk about a problem with everyone BUT the person they have the problem with, drivers that don't know how a traffic circle works, how the news blows everything out of proportion to sell the story, sarcasm directed at others (Proverbs 18:21) .

What’s your favorite piece of tech for doing youth ministry?

Group2Text and GroupMe

What do you enjoy doing outside of youth ministry? 

Reading, Hanging with my multitude of friends and family. Babysitting my MANY nieces and nephews. Making funny videos for our students at The Community. Currently working on the video for the Retreat Rules for our upcoming retreat with Merge Youth from Gospel Centre and Aspen Ridge Youth from Athabasca. I can MOST DEFINITELY say it is the MOST embarrassing thing I have EVER DONE IN MY LIFE 😳

Yea or nay to all-nighters? 

Naaaaayyyyyyy!!!!!! I'm way too old for that😂....except the PAOC New Years Eve Eve All Nighter........ That's key... thank goodness for coffee.....and lots of it!

What’s the best event you’ve ever done with students?

Two of my core values are family and community. And as the family of God, I believe that those should be evident in the worldwide church. So every 3-4 months we intentionally do a "Family Night" and we invite everyone from our church that wants to come. We encourage our teens to bring their families as well. In September we went to the Edmonton corn maze and just spent time together, played, had fun, ate, and prayed together as a big family of God! It was so cool to be a part of and watch!!

If you could gather all the youth pastors in our province in a room, what would you want to say to them?

Jesus loves you and is proud of you.  I love you and am proud of you. What you do MATTERS........even on the days you want to give up, or the days you feel like you aren't making a difference.

What’s the hardest part of being a youth pastor?

Meeting teens who don't believe in their God-given value and worth because of lies they believe or words other people have said to them. I very easily see value and worth in others, even when they don't see it in themselves. When I was growing up, I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts because of words people said to me or thoughts I had about myself. BUT, I had an encounter and a 5 year healing season with Jesus in my 20's that's changed all of that. So now when I see others that struggle with those things, or believe lies about themselves (that parents, peers or teachers have said about them) it troubles me and hurts me. I want to do everything I can to point them to the love of Jesus!! I want them to really grasp, understand and know his love for them..... BUT it is usually a process and God has them in a journey! It's not usually a quick fix. That is hard for me.

What’s your favorite part of being a youth pastor?

Building real, authentic relationships. I love everyone, so the fact that I get to show up in people's lives every day and speak life, love, hope and Jesus into their lives is amazing and definitely my passion and life calling! I try to do that in every aspect of my life, and I would do that even if I wasn't a youth pastor! But I find being a youth pastor allows me to do that on a wider scale.