Interview with NAYC Speakers: Ryan Dean
Our next interview for NAYC comes from Ryan Dean of Bossier City, Louisiana. So, students, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to one of your Thursday split session speakers, Ryan Dean.
InsideOut: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
Ryan Dean: A massive leather Bible with a waterproof case; a snorkeling kit; a flame-thrower—for weekend activities.
IO: Please tell us your favorite joke.
RD: Two deeply-in-love penguins stood and held flippers on a small iceberg as they floated atop the frigid waters of the Antarctic. Suddenly, a lightning bolt struck from a clear blue sky and split the iceberg in half. The two pieces slowly drifted apart from one another, creating a divide between the lovestruck penguins. Their eyes locked in intense sorrow as the blocks of ice were further separated by the currents. Just before they faded from each other’s sight, the male penguin raised his flipper, waved it frantically, and cried “Radio!”
IO: What is the funniest moment you have had while preaching?
RD: During my first year working in student ministry, I used an illustration involving a blender and a live fish, which happened to be swimming in the blender. The illustration went very, very wrong, and I accidentally blended the fish in front of everyone. No one received the Holy Ghost that night.
IO: Why do you feel North American Youth Congress is so important for students to attend?
RD: Standing, worshiping, and praying in an arena full of like-minded young people helps remind us we’re not alone, and God is doing incredible things in churches all across North America. Standing shoulder to shoulder with 16,000 Truth-believing students is more than just exciting—it’s an incredible faith-builder.
IO: How do you mentally prepare to preach to thousands at Youth Congress?
RD: Prayer. Study. Fasting. Pepto Bismol.
IO: What do you feel are your top two personal strengths and weaknesses and why?
RD: Strengths: 1) Listing your own strengths feels self-congratulatory, but hopefully I’m a decent writer (primarily lessons and sermons). 2) I absolutely love my students. It’s not just meeting a job requirement—it’s the truth.
Weaknesses: 1) I am not a good administrator or delegator. I lack these vital organizational skills, so I must rely on others to compensate for these shortcomings as I work on them. 2) My memory is legendarily bad. I will literally forget a name ten seconds after hearing it for the first time. I have to write everything down.
IO: When and where did you receive your calling, and how did you prepare to fulfill it?
RD: I actually received my calling while in the worst spiritual condition of my life. I was around fifteen or sixteen, and I absolutely hated the church. I even told many of my friends that I was an agnostic. One Sunday, I was sitting in a pew, trying to ignore a sermon when I felt God nudge me in the Spirit, saying, “You know you’re going to be youth pastor one day.”
I brushed the feeling off for years, but after praying through at eighteen years old, I began to work towards accepting that calling. I’ve been fortunate enough to have people like my father and brother-in-law in my life. They’re also my pastor and assistant pastor, and they have shown me what ministry really is.
Prayer is an obvious essential, but it’s also very important to truly bury yourself in the Bible and other spiritual literature. If you want to be a minister, it never starts behind the pulpit, but rather in Bible studies, late-night prayer meetings, service to your local church in ANY capacity, and consistency in your personal walk with God.
IO: What advice do you have for someone feeling a call to any aspect of ministry? What should their next steps be?
RD: Learn to truly humble yourself. The illusion of the grandeur of ministry is short-lived. You quickly learn that ministry is indeed taking up the mantle of a servant. If you want to prepare yourself for ministry, don’t attempt to build yourself up. Instead, stoop down a few levels, get your hands dirty, and serve.
IO: What are your long term goals for ministry and life in general, and what steps do you plan to reach those goals?
RD: Short-term: To be a loving and godly husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, and minister.
Long-term: My long-term ministerial goals are written and kept in my bedroom drawer, but I don’t feel comfortable revealing them in detail. They could be summed up in one statement: “be an effective soul-winner.” It’s not an option for any of us. It’s a calling, and I hope to become much better at it.
Reaching goals planted by God can only be achieved through prayer, fasting, study, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. These principles seem generic, but they are essential to grasp.
IO: How can the students take the Youth Congress fire to their homes and home churches and keep it burning?
RD: Sustaining a fire simply requires additional fuel. Keep it going by hitting the ground running and STAYING active. Teach Bible studies in your schools, treat every worship service like it’s your last, and support your church with your time and energy.
Ryan Dean has ministered as student pastor at The Pentecostals of Bossier City in Bossier City, Louisiana since 2003. He has been privileged to serve under leadership of his father, Pastor Jerry Dean, and Assistant Pastor Shannon Stanley. Ryan married Shari, his Louisiana youth camp sweetheart, in 2006. They are the proud parents of their son, Raylan Mason Dean, and West Highland White Terrier, Apple. Ryan is scheduled to speak Thursday at 10:15am in the teens split session.