Interview with NAYC Staff: A.J. Dummitt
Our next interview for NAYC comes from A.J. Dummitt of Radcliff, Kentucky. He will be coordinating Project 22:39 at North American Youth Congress. So, students, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to A.J. Dummitt.
InsideOut: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?
A.J. Dummitt: 1) My family (if you consider them to be items). I would definitely not want to be anywhere without my family and especially my wife, Cathy, because HOME is wherever we are together. I absolutely love my family, and if they were with me, this would be a grand adventure.
2) My Bible. I would have said this would be even more important than having my family, but I have been in and around Bible quizzing for so long—and my children quiz as well—that wherever we go, we take the Word with us. I would definitely like to have my study Bible with me so I could continue to grow spiritually and be kept in perfect peace every day.
3) A guitar or ukulele. Because there, I would finally have enough time to learn how to play, and music would definitely be critical to my sanity.
IO: Please tell us your favorite joke.
AD: A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer when all of a sudden he said aloud, “Lord grant me one wish.” The sky clouded and a booming voice said, “Because you have tried to be faithful, I will grant you one wish.” The man said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want to.”
The Lord answered, “Your request is very materialistic. Think of the logistics of that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time to think of another wish; a wish you think would honor and glorify me”.
The man thought for a long time and finally said, “Lord, I wish I could understand women. I want to know what they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say ‘nothing’, and how I can make a woman truly happy?”
After a few minutes, God said, “How many lanes did you want on that bridge?”
IO: What is the funniest moment you have had while preaching?
AD: While preparing to give an altar call one time when I was about twenty-three, I was giving reasons people give to avoid coming to the altar. I was giving these reasons as a way to encourage people to overcome these hindrances. I said something along the lines of, “You might be feeling like you would like to come to the altar today, BUT what will people think of me? You would like to come to the altar today, BUT you think maybe I can just wait until next time. You would like to come to the altar today, BUT what if the preacher comes over and shakes my head?”
Then I said the most profound statement a preacher could ever make: “EVERYONE’S GOT A BUT.” I meant it well, but you can see how it was misinterpreted. This happened in Louisville, Kentucky at the church on Smyrna Parkway. Needless to say, everyone was snickering, and I never got control of the service back that day.
IO: Why do you feel North American Youth Congress is so important for students to attend?
AD: Where else can you worship the Almighty God in a place with thousands of other Apostolic teenagers who are going through so many of the same things you are?! The meetings are powerful because they have the potential to re-shape the concepts of students from worldly perspectives back to good, solid principles based in God’s Word. The influence of this gathering has continued momentum long after the attendees leave the host city. The devil is scared of this meeting because it has the potential to do so much damage to his kingdom. N.A.Y.C.s have always been some of my best memories, and I plan on attending every one I can, and I look forward to my children experiencing them as well.
IO: How do you mentally prepare to preach to thousands at Youth Congress?
AD: I really couldn’t tell you other than to tell you this: you have to really be focused with so much else going on around you. Focus and anointing would be my two major preparations. Know what you are talking about, where you want to go, and be sensitive to the Holy Ghost while you are there.
IO: What do you feel are your top two personal strengths and weaknesses and why?
AD: Strengths: 1) Loving people. Because it is very hard to minister when you don’t love people and love being around them. After loving God, it is of primary importance to love your neighbor as yourself.
2) Organization. I love to plan and carry out that plan. God has blessed me to get to do this in many ways on many levels. I love bringing people together and watching God do big things through a team that is sold out for the cause.
Weaknesses: 1) Trying to do too much. Many times, I want so badly to get as much as possible done for God that I have definitely over-extended myself. God is teaching me to trust Him and allow Him to lead and guide me. I am finding that a thirty minute prayer session is much more powerful than hours upon hours of planning. Planning is great but only when it is bathed in prayer and dependency upon God.
2) Caring too much about what people think of me. For a long time, I have struggled with my image and what others thought of me. I have tried to adjust myself and tweak my personality to fit those around me. God is helping me to see that I can be whom He wants me to be and still be true to myself. If you don’t like me, it is not always my problem to worry about!
IO: When and where did you receive your calling, and how did you prepare to fulfill it?
AD: I received a specific calling three times to the ministry. The first was at Ohio camp when I was ten years old. The second was at First Apostolic Church in Toledo, Ohio during our youth week when I was twelve years old. Darrell Johns was preaching that night and confirmed it in the altar with me. When I was thirteen, my family moved to Michigan, and I struggled with the call of God on my life and ran from it because of what I had seen and experienced.
Then, when I was sixteen and attending Michigan youth camp, the call came again. On Thursday night of that camp, I surrendered again and had three separate people confirm the calling using the same words each time they prayed with me. I accepted it and changed my plans for the future. That autumn, I enrolled in Indiana Bible College in Indianapolis. I had many ups and downs, but God has led me every step of the way. I’m thankful for men and women God placed in my life who gave me chances to preach and sing all along the way for the glory of God.
IO: What advice do you have for someone feeling a call to any aspect of ministry? What should their next steps be?
AD: Be sure you have a call. To do anything other than what God is calling you to in life would make you miserable. You should confirm this call with the spiritual authority in your life (pastor, pastor’s wife, student pastor, Sunday school teacher, etc). Then, begin asking God to open the ministry doors He wants you to walk through. Your gift will make room for itself—you shouldn’t have to make it happen.
IO: What are your long term goals for ministry and life in general, and what steps do you plan to reach those goals?
AD: 1) To always keep the love and respect of my wife.
2) To see my children saved and in the ministry.
3) To mentor others to maturity through the gifts God has given me.
4) To be an excellent communicator and reach many with the gospel.
5) To live my life pleasing to God, my audience of One.
IO: How can the students take the Youth Congress fire to their homes and home churches and keep it burning?
AD: Commit to be accountable to their godly peers and to those they are under spiritually. Have a regular schedule of prayer and fasting every week, and honor God with their faithfulness. Find a place to serve the local church and be a blessing to everyone in it. Do everything in their power to win someone to the Lord through prayer, Bible studies, social media, and friendship. These are just a few things that will keep them inspired and ignited in living for God once Youth Congress is over.
A.J. Dummitt is a passionate preacher, student leader, husband and father. A.J. has served as a student pastor, lead pastor, Sectional Youth Leader, Kentucky District Youth Secretary, and General Conference Coordinator. A graduate of Indiana Bible College and McKendree University. He is the father of three children Julia, Jasmin, and Ashton. For his work with the General Conference and Holiday Youth Conventions, A.J. was named an Ambassador of Louisville for the 2011 Rose Awards. In 2012 the Kentucky District endorsed A.J. and his wife Cathy to plant a new church in Metro Louisville Kentucky. A.J. is thrilled to be part of Louisville North American Youth Congress and Project 22:39.