Meet the NAYC Speakers: David K. Bernard

Posted by: in 2019, Youth Congress on April 24th

Rev. David K. Bernard is the general superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International, which has 4 million constituents in over 40,000 churches in 228 nations and territories. He founded New Life Church of Austin, Texas, out of which 16 additional churches were started under his leadership.  He earned the master and doctor of theology in New Testament from the University of South Africa, doctor of jurisprudence with honors from the University of Texas, and a bachelor of arts magna cum laude in mathematical sciences and managerial studies from Rice University. The author of 36 books with a circulation of 900,000, he has been published in 39 languages and has ministered in 70 countries on six continents. He and his wife, Connie, have three children and several grandchildren.

We are so excited to hear what the Lord has laid on his heart for one of the young minister’s sessions at NAYC 2019.

InsideOut: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you and why?

  • Knife: to cut items for food and shelter, to make a spear for fish and animals, to fashion a container for water.
  • Waterproof matches: to build a fire for cooking, warmth, protection, signaling.
  • Electronic tablet with solar-powered charger, loaded with the Bible, a survival manual, and hundreds of books: for spiritual, mental, and physical survival.

IO: Please tell us your favorite joke.

DB: I’ll give you two.

  • Did you hear that the [Rival] University library burned down? …  Well, both books were destroyed. . . . But the bad thing is, one hadn’t been colored in yet.
  • What does an insomniac agnostic dyslexic do? He lies awake at night wondering if there is a dog.

IO: What is the funniest moment you have had while preaching? 

DB: It actually occurred during the worship before I preached, when a man did cartwheels during worship.

IO: Besides the Bible, what is your favorite book?

DB: For fiction, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Complete Works of Mark Twain (yes, many books), Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. For Christian theology, The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. For other nonfiction, biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.

IO: What is your dream travel destination? 

DB: For relaxation, the Caribbean. For overall tourism, France.

IO:  What does your daily devotion routine look like? 

DB: As a pastor, I blocked off 8-9 am in the office for prayer, Bible read, study, planning, preparation. As general superintendent, my schedule varies each day and week, but my goal is daily prayer and reading of the Word with more extensive times in the weekly schedule, which sometimes occurs during air travel or in the evenings. From the beginning of my ministry my goal was to fast one day per week (dinner to dinner), and today I try to meet this goal as much as my travel schedule permits.

IO: What is your favorite hobby/past-time 

DB: Racquetball, swimming, taking pictures of wildflowers

IO: How do you prepare to preach to thousands at North American Youth Congress? 

DB: Months ahead I began thinking and praying about the message. As time gets closer, I prepare an outline. Before speaking I pray, review my notes, and mentally rehearse key portions.

IO: Briefly share your testimony, especially from your life as a teen.

DB: I was baptized in Jesus’ name and received the Holy Ghost at age seven. At age eight, I went to Korea with my parents, who were the pioneer UPCI missionaries to Korea. I grew up there as the only American, English-speaking UPCI young person in the whole country, with one year of furlough in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At age seventeen I came back to the US by myself to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas, for four years, where I rented a room from a retired couple. Then I attended the University of Texas Law School in Austin, Texas, for three years, where I lived alone. In 1981, at age twenty-four I graduated from law school, passed the State Bar of Texas, received a ministerial license with the UPCI, got married, began full-time ministry as teacher and administrator at Jackson College of Ministries, and published my first book (In Search of Holiness).

IO: When and where did God call you to preach, and how did you answer you His call?

DB: I received a definite call to preach at the end of the summer before my last year in law school, in prayer about my future. I had been asked to speak in churches many times over the summer even though I didn’t consider myself a preacher. I decided to finish law school but to go into full-time ministry immediately upon graduation. I prepared by continuing spiritual disciplines; extensive reading and study of the Bible and theology, building upon previous training from my parents and later taking classes in New Testament Greek; accepting speaking opportunities from nursing home services to church revivals; getting involved in many forms of church ministry including outreach, home Bible studies, and youth ministry; working under the direction of spiritual leaders.

IO: What advice do you give to the teens and young adults of this generation?

  • Develop and maintain basic spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, Bible study, church attendance, giving.
  • Participate in the activities and programs of your local church. Invite people to church, share your testimony, teach a Bible study, participate in outreach services.
  • Be an active member of your church community. Encourage fellow believers, befriend people on the margins of the church, and support leadership.
  • Pray and consult with your pastor about your educational and career goals, considering ways you can bless and support the kingdom of God. 

IO: How can the students take the North American Youth Congress fire to their homes and home churches and keep it burning?

  • Continue in prayer and study.
  • Stay connected with likeminded friends.
  • Find practical involvement in your local church and youth group, including both outreach and in-reach.


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