Interview with Nathaniel Binion
Pentecostal Herald: What is Hyphen?
Nathaniel Binion: Hyphen is the new young adult ministry of the General Youth Division. It is focused on the eighteen to thirty age demographic of the UPCI. The name embodies our mission: to bridge the gap between our student ministries (twelve to eighteen) and adult programming (thirty and up). We hope to connect eighteen to thirty year-olds to service with purpose through resources for a mission.
PH: How long has Hyphen been in existence?
NB: Hyphen was publicly unveiled at the Youth Congress in 2009. But the General Youth committee ratified the initial proposal in January 2009 and Hyphen officially began operations July 1, 2009. We have built a brand identity, a national team, operating policies, and objectives. We are in a two-year launch sequence.
PH: What do you plan to do in the two-year launch sequence?
NB: Our goals are to: 1) raise national awareness within the UPC on young adult issues; 2) collect free resources for our website (www.hyphenonline.org); 3) challenge and equip districts, churches, and young adults to find and implement a local young adult strategy.
PH: What is the difference between Hyphen, CMI, and the Singles Ministry of the Sunday School Division?
NB: While each department leader can speak best for their initiative, it is really a matter of focus. The campus ministry focuses on college students, the singles ministry of the Sunday School Division focuses on a broader singles demographic, and Hyphen seeks to focus on a specific age demographic (eighteen to thirty). We will work cooperatively alongside each other to accomplish our mission similar to many of the other ministries of the UPCI.
PH: You mentioned that you have a national team. Please explain.
NB: Out national team consists of an administrative director, six regional directors, one marketing director, and a communications director. Their main goal is to facilitate and equip grassroots leadership to do young adult ministry. We meet via a conference call the first Monday night of every month. You can find out more about our structure and leaders by going to www.hyphenonline.org.
PH: What is the purpose of the Hyphen website?
NB: From the very beginning I believed that effective ministry is already happening on the local level. We just need to take the next few years to compile it and disseminate it. Already, our website provides starting checklists for pastors, district leaders, and young adults and over thirty-five resources that include small group lessons, structure ideas, and leadership resources. Our goal is to connect large and small churches through sharing resources. I always encourage people to check out our website and see that they will find at least one valuable resource to implement into their local vision.
PH: What is the Hyphen Tour?
NB: One of our objectives is to build a national awareness of the needs of young adults. One way we are accomplishing this is a conference called the Hyphen Tour. We e will allow only two hundred people at each location. The focus will be to bring speakers to address subjects that will help begin the process for young adults to take ownership of their twenties and that every decision matters for their future.
PH: So the Hyphen Tour is about inspiring young adults, not how to build a young adult ministry?
NB: Correct. We will give tips on what to do in the local church, but the main focus of the Hyphen Tour is to equip young adults about dreams, planting roots, using their pain for God’s glory, sexuality, their money, and their mission. I believe the Holy Spirit will lead each person to return home to better the local church.
PH: What are the locations of the Hyphen Tour?
NB The Hyphen Tour will be coming to Columbus, Ohio (August 20-21), Orlando, Florida (September 3-4), Houston, Texas (September 10-11), and Orange County, California (October 15-16). For registration information visit www.hyphenonline.org.
PH: A closing thought?
NB: Yes. It is important to remember that Hyphen’s mission is to serve, connect, and equip local churches and individuals. We are here to serve you. Do not hesitate to contact a regional director with ideas, resources, or questions. PH
Nathaniel Binion lives with his wife Regina in downtown Austin, Texas. He serves as pastor of Kerygma church and serves as director of Hyphen.