At 24, Diana Ramirez is not much older than the students she connects with at Springcreek. As Nextgen Student Director, she helps with two events each week for middle school and high school students.
On Sundays, Diana teaches and organizes the middle-school morning services. On Wednesday nights, she helps lead the gathering for both middle school and high school students, which includes fellowship time, student-led worship, a Scripture message and small-group discussions.
Diana recently was brought on staff part-time after volunteering for six months as a small-group leader for the ninth-grade girls. She already knew how to reach students in her work as a high school leader with Young Life.
“I connect with students very well. I can still relate to them, even though some of their challenges are different than what I went through,” Diana said.
The key is to develop a relationship with young people by supporting their own interests.
“Knowing them by their name just livens them up and makes them feel noticed. Knowing their interests and hobbies and supporting them in what they do. When students start asking you to come to their plays and concerts, you know you’ve connected,” Diana said.
When Springcreek invited Diana to hold her Young Life meetings at the church building on Monday nights, it created a path for them to participate in Bible studies and other church resources.
Besides her role on staff, Diana still volunteers on Tuesday nights with the Young Adults ministry, serving as a greeter with the First Impressions team and leading a small group for women 18-25.
Diana recalls landing at Springcreek a year and a half ago, which she described as a low point in her life. Born and raised in Garland, she’d been hurt by experiences at another church. While church-shopping, she visited Springcreek when Pastor Keith Stewart had just started his series “I’m OK. I’m Broken.”
“That was exactly me. I was broken,” Diana said. “I thought, ‘OK, God. You’re really speaking to me.’”
She also wanted community with peers her own age, but Springcreek hadn’t yet launched a young adult ministry, Diana fully expected she’d have to start looking for another church after Pastor Keith’s series ended. On the last Sunday of his series, however, staff announced that the church would be starting a young adult ministry.
Diana recalls her reaction: “OK, God. Message received. This is where I need to be.”
When Patrick McLaughlin came on board as young adults pastor a few months later, he “re-amped everything” and invited Diana to be part of a team he was building. She’s never looked back.
“I love connecting with people and making them feel welcome,” she said.
- Written by Robin Russell