What would it be like to live a day in the shoes of Northwestern’s one and only Mark DeYounge?
DeYounge’s daily life is not as simple as some would think — his role as Dean of Christian Formation requires him to be fairly flexible with how he spends his time.
“I would say that the routine of my job is less like a daily or weekly routine, but more of a seasonal routine,” DeYounge said. “Summer looks very different from fall and fall looks very different depending on if it’s early fall versus late fall…so it sort of ebbs and flows with the year. But the thing that does bring routine is the fact that we have chapel every Tuesday and Friday.”
Chapel speaking engagements – both the sermons that he gives and the guest speakers that he facilitates – are a big part of DeYounge’s responsibilities.
“President Greg Christy likes to tell people that I’m the campus pastor and most people that remember the position before me call me the chaplain. I don’t even know my own title…just call me Mark,” DeYounge said with a laugh.
On the pastoral side of his job, he loves the opportunities he has to eat and talk with students.
On an ideal day, DeYounge will “grab breakfast with a student or two and do a back-to-back breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m., just to have an hour with a couple students or a couple of groups of students.”
Since DeYounge does his best work in the morning, he will often spend 9 a.m. – noon reading, studying and writing in preparation for speaking or other ministries. Then DeYounge will usually have lunch with a colleague before putting in a few hours of administrative work.
“On an ideal day, I’d have a whole afternoon of just being with students and being with colleagues and staff and investing into what the Spirit’s doing on campus,” DeYounge said.
As much as he loves being part of the NW community, DeYounge treasures time at home with his family.
“In having a three and four-year-old there’s a real sacredness to that 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. timeframe that I try as hard as I can to protect for the sake of my wife and kids,” DeYounge said.
One of his favorite things to do with that time is share stories from the Bible with his kids.
“To see their eyes of wonder light up and their wheels turning, like, ‘This actually happened!’ and cuddling around my son’s bed with my two kids and my wife, talking about Scripture…it’s just fantastic,” DeYounge said.
A day in the life of the Dean of Christian Formation isn’t always easy, but it is a title DeYounge is honored to bear. He recognizes the tremendous impact his role can have on campus and takes that role very seriously.
“It is a real privilege,” DeYounge said. “This is a big deal, to serve this institution in this way.”