Alumni Profile: Myron Bernard

Posted by: DVULI | Aug 10, 2021

DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative

by Will Cumby (Houston 2010)

► ALUMNI: Myron Bernard (Seattle Tacoma 2011)
► ORGANIZATION: Youth for Christ USA
► CURRENT POSITION: Leader Formation Specialist


How has serving with Youth for Christ helped you fulfill your mission in life?

This is my tenth year on staff with Youth for Christ (YFC). During the pandemic season, God shifted me into a new position that perfectly fit the gifts He gave me. At our corporate office, I serve in a role focused on leader formation for the 140 YFC chapters across the United States. I have a passion for developing leaders. In this role, I get to plan conferences, lead virtual trainings, and facilitate monthly leader formation calls with new staff and executive leaders. Each event, meeting, or call is a chance to draw out the inner giftings of our staff and executive leaders.

Was there a specific moment that made you want to do ministry for the rest of your life?

I met Jesus in second grade while sitting in a church service at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas. Not long after I got saved, my family relocated, and my faith was tested. I experienced brokenness as my family fell apart. In college, I discovered a church that transformed my thinking. The church taught me that God is always doing something now for the next generation. Joel 2:28 says, “Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions” (NIV). This generation has to reach back to the next generation so we can all move forward. Leadership is generational and has to be shared. If this next generation is to know and love Jesus, we must approach ministry with a different mindset that takes full advantage of the lessons we’ve learned about capacity and leverage. I have seen the visions, and now I share my dreams for future generations.

What do you hope to accomplish while serving at Youth for Christ?

As an 80-year-old organization, YFC has developed a patternfor leadership and appearance. Recently, we have seen outstanding organizational changes that will create a beneficial impact across our various YFC chapters. We are challenging our leaders to adopt a new mindset and ministry habits of empowerment. This is not a quick turn, but it is necessary. I would love to see every chapter functioning in a new paradigm of leader empowerment. Instead of focusing our efforts on staff doing direct ministry, we can shift to building up and empowering leaders among youth and adult volunteers. This year, YFC USA named Jessica Taylor (a DVULI alumna from Portland) Chief of Staff. Her position says something significant about YFC’s commitment to diversity and its effort to doing things differently. I know Jessica will help YFC become more diverse not only in how we look as a staff but also in how we think and who we serve. God has done a lot historically through YFC and is going to continue to do great things. I plan to help build a diverse and creative YFC organization as we follow God’s mission.

What challenges have you or the organization had to overcome?

New paradigms are difficult to implement. Whether because of bad habits, risk aversion, or just plain complacency, getting others to be open to change can be hard work. We’re trying to encourage ministry leaders to adopt a new mindset and ministry habits of empowerment, but sometimes leaders are unsure about making that commitment. Other times they’re willing but unsure how. Ultimately, building a movement that empowers others requires a significant cultural shift for our organization, and culture shifts are hard to bring about.

What collaborative opportunities are benefiting this work?

The local church is a major partner of the work that I do at YFC. We endeavor for local church leaders to engage with youth in meaningful ways that build faith and character while developing an understanding of their unique necessity in the body of Christ. Beyond the local church, we also partner with national organizations like Young Life, Cru, Navigators, and Urban Youth Workers Institute. Through our partnerships and leader formation meetings, we learn from each other, but our focus on youth evangelism remains paramount. The partnerships help challenge our programming and push us to creatively address our strategic plans.

What learning principle from your DVULI training experience are you applying in this role?

Empowerment. Empowerment helps ministries become more fruitful and builds the body of Christ at large. I had an opportunity to supervise and mentor a particular leader. Rachael is a former staff member, and I am beyond grateful to witness her growth. Through our development meetings, I helped Rachael articulate her passions and then promoted her to a position where she could maximize her leadership development skills. Now, she runs her own consulting company that addresses equity and diversity in school districts and corporate businesses. During a DVULI core value session in Orlando, Florida, I heard this unforgettable quote by Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I embrace this as my life goal and my aspiration for how I empower leaders.

How can your DVULI family pray for you as you move forward?

I would love and appreciate prayers for young leaders. We need a generation of young leaders who will build and lead the body of Christ. We need this in YFC, but the kingdom of God needs this as a whole—a generation that pursues Jesus.