Get to know: Stephanie Canaday

Stephanie Canaday is the Minister to Students at Faith Fellowship Baptist Church in Denison, Texas. I work with the students in 7th-12th grades and their families.

1. Most influential book you've read in the past two years?

"Speaking to Teenagers", by Doug Fields.

2. Who is the one person who has had the most impact on your ministry?

Kathy Wilburn. She has taught me so much from how to teach a class, how to plan a large event, and how to always put people first. The greatest part was half the time I didn't even realize I was being taught anything. I thought I was just helping out. Probably the best thing about Kathy, though, is that she is great at listening. Learning to really listen to students is probably the one of the most important things I've learned in ministry.

3. What I love most about youth ministry is . . .

There is a light that comes on when a student understands something for the first time or when they are doing ministry themselves. I am hopelessly in love with that light.

4. If I could see anyone in concert it would be . . .

Switchfoot. Every time they come to a town near me, I already have something else planned.

5. If I could go anywhere on vacation it would be to . . . (and why you would go there)

Hawaii. I think it would be fun to go hiking and explore all the beautiful waterfalls and cliffs, then take a nap on the beach.

6. One thing that about me that surprises most people is . . .

That I'm a minister. They always assume that when I say "I'm in ministry", that I mean I'm a youth minister's wife. It's funny when they go to shake his hand and ask which church he works at, and he's like, "No, she's the minister".

7. Tell us about your call to ministry

I first felt called to children's ministry about 8 years ago after volunteering to teach a children's Sunday school class. I pursued that path for several years when our Youth Ministry position opened up. I was asked if I would like to apply for the position. I laughed and said no, but that I would pray on it. It was crazy how fast God changed my heart. One minute I just wanted to tell Bible stories and color, then the next minute I wanted to teach more in depth Bible studies and chase teenagers with nerf guns. The day after I officially applied for the position, they sent me to Conclave to get a taste of what youth ministry would be like. It was awesome. Kari Jobe was the worship leader that year and she was amazing. She sang "You are for me" and it fit my situation perfectly. I was so scared to move to youth ministry. I knew so very little about teaching teenagers, but I was willing to chase God anywhere. I left Conclave that year bursting with joy about the path God was leading me to, confident that wherever He led me He would never forsake me in my weakness.

8. What is one of your spiritual gifts and how does it impact your ministry?

Administration. Not with paper though, I'm terrible with paper. God has blessed me to be very good with people and plans. I really enjoy finding what people's strengths are and helping them find their place in our church and church events. What's really great about how this gift, is that it means I always have wonderful volunteers!

9. Where is the best place to eat in your city?

Kent's Mexican Restaurant.

10. If someone gave you $1,000 for your youth ministry, what would you do with it?

Buy a computer. Right now I run everything off my IPad. It works when we have WIFI, but WIFI is kinda sketchy. Nothing slows down a lesson like buffering.

11. If someone gave you $1,000 what would you do with it?

Buy a computer. Mine is slowly dying. It takes 10-15 minutes just to start up, then I have to be super nice to it or it will freeze up. Between ministry stuff and school online, I lose hours every day waiting for the computer to let me do stuff.

12. Top 3 hobbies you have (or things you enjoy in your free time)

  1. Learning to play guitar.
  2. Drawing or painting.
  3. Reading.

13. Favorite passage of Scripture and why?

John 21:15-19

It is such a beautiful picture of grace. Peter had denied Jesus, had failed in his attempt to be a consistent follower, and Jesus' response was love, forgiveness and an offer to again join with him to care for and reach others.

14. If you could spend a day with any historical figure (not in the Bible) who would it be?

Any famous artist, like Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci. To be able to watch them paint or draw and learn from them would be awesome.

15. If you could spend a day with anyone alive today who would it be?

Jon Foreman. He is the lead singer and guitarist for Switchfoot. He writes tons of great Christian music and I think it would be neat to see that creative process. I imagine that it would be similar to the light you see when students are being used by God, but with a pretty soundtrack.

16. What is your favorite thing about Conclave?

The breakout sessions. I like to gather new ideas and learn how to be more efficient with my time. My leaders and I always come home and begin working on the new ideas right away. Last year, this meant we drove right to the church and cut up every pool noodle we could find so we could play some fun new games with our students.

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