Noel Snyder and Mark DeYounge, two Dean of Christian Formation candidates, spoke in chapel on March 30 and April 1, respectively. Northwestern has been looking for a new chaplain since Harlan Van Oort left in August. While on campus, both candidates participated in a staff and student question and answer time.
Both candidates feel called to pastoral ministry and have a passion for serving others, especially for the millennial age. Noel Snyder first felt called to be a disciple and follower of Christ through his captivating experiences in a Christian summer camp that he attended as a kid. It was there that he explored preaching and teaching roles that helped others grow as disciples.
“When we grow as disciples, we are wrestling with the things that Jesus taught us, and we’re continually being formed and shaped by what Scripture teaches,” Snyder said.
Snyder feels that his faith has developed through a personal invitation from his mother to follow Christ at a young age, as well as attending small groups in college.
“In seminary, I learned tools for ministry that is centered on Christ and was a part of a ministry that places the gospel in the center, which is what allows us to enter into a relationship with God and be His children” Snyder said.
Snyder attended seminary at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. where he completed his Master of Divinity. He also has degrees in music and philosophy from Hope College in Holland, Mich. Snyder, his wife and three children curently reside in Michigan.
“I want a job where the Dean of Christian Formation can speak into the identity of the intuition,” Snyder said. “I also want a job where I can work with students to build their faith and show students ways of integrating their faith with other things they are training in their vocations.”
Snyder feels that he can bring an artistic design to chapel to make it a rich and compelling experience.
“I would like to see a strong preaching voice as one of the essentials and an encouraging lively presence is one of the ways I would see myself adding to chapel,” Snyder said.
Mark DeYounge, a 2008 NW alum, graduated with a degree in business, but felt called a few years later to go to seminary and become a pastor. In doing so, DeYounge found some great connections.
“God opened doors to connect me with many students,” DeYounge said.
These relationships caused DeYounge to develop a passion for the next generation, which led him to serve as the Area Director for Young Life in Sioux Falls. The organization works with both high school and college students in developing their faith.
Mark will complete his Master of Divinity in May 2017. If he were selected, he would start in the position of Director of Campus Ministry until his Master of Divinity is complete, then transition into being the Dean of Christian Formation.
“Back when I was a student so much of my life was impacted by my time at Northwestern and I want to take part in that for other students,” DeYounge said.