At the National Conference on Youth Ministry (NCYM) 2018, John King from Lubbock Christian University received the Big Don Williams Lighthouse Award for his great contribution to youth ministry.
“Thank you,” the inscription on the award reads, “for a relentless commitment to the ministry and mission of drawing teenagers and families to live as followers on Jesus Christ… Thank you for helping young people discover their identity and purpose in God’s kingdom."
“It’s primarily given to youth ministers, so that’s why I was so surprised. I was very honored,” said King, senior vice president of university relations at LCU.
Though King has not specifically held the title of youth minister, he has impacted the lives of young people by ministering through summer camps.
“I think I was honored because a lot of these guys came to camp,” King added.
“Don Williams was a pioneer youth minister in the Churches of Christ and the same thing could be said about John King,” said Josh Stephens, dean of students. “John has always had a heart to help teens in their walk with Jesus and it’s evident when you see him around the campers on LCU’s campus or at Pine Springs. John has done a great job for LCU, and he continues to shine for Christ as he serves the Kingdom of God.”
“John King is a known and respected part of the heritage of youth ministry in the Churches of Christ. For over 4 decades, John has served teenagers and youth ministers through the camp ministry of Lubbock Christian University. He was the camp director when I gave my life to Christ and it is an honor to partner with him today in ministry and call him friend,” added David Fraze, professor of Bible and special assistant to the president.
King majored in Bible. He began working at LCU as an admissions counselor before going on to become director of admissions. Early on, he saw a need to provide a spiritual experience that brought high school students to campus as a service for youth and recruitment tool.
Together with a small group of minds, King established Encounter, the summer camp still held annually at LCU. Encounter was built around unique experiential learning classes that students participate in during their week on campus.
After Encounter grew too big to accept more campers, King suggested to branch off a camp for middle-school students called Camp Champion. Camp Champion is a very different experience from Encounter, but its establishment allowed both camps to grow in size individually.
After a few years, King was roped into helping direct Pine Springs Summer Camp. He hadn’t expected it, but the camp grew on him, and he has been passionately involved since, including in efforts to rebuild and improve the camp after it was ravaged by a devastating fire.
Now, King attends NCYM annually. He feels the gathering of youth ministers is a valuable way to foster ministry and fellowship between churches. He was very honored to be recognized by the conference and by his peers.