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Dr. Ed Young: Marriage, Ministries and the Next Generation

Dr. Ed Young and his wife of 52 years, Jo Beth.

A pastor and his passion for guiding teens

By Melanie Saxton

As the beloved pastor of Second Baptist —one church in five locations —Dr. Ed Young ministers to upwards of 60,000 souls any given Sunday. With a vibrant message, he and his church family serve the community and address the most important topics of the day.

With campuses in Houston, Cypress, Katy, Pearland, and Kingwood, Second Baptist focuses intently on community and kids, pouring time, energy, funds and facilities into their development. Case in point: Annual summer beach retreats.

Imagine 2,000 high school students, all spaced out on blankets facing the waves as the sun sets. A Bible rests in each pair of hands. As the teens contemplate the issues in their lives — peer pressure, addiction, abuse, temptation and parental divorce — they relax and connect with God.

This week-long summer retreat ministry is near and dear to Dr. Young’s heart. As a time of healing and strengthening, he believes get-aways are one important way to reach a very challenged generation. “There is something about nighttime and teens,” says Young. “The evenings are a time of serious reflection. Over the last 30 years I’ve joined young people as they ponder the complications of life. So many need encouragement, guidance, comfort and direction. It is a great privilege to see them transform as they dedicate — or rededicate — their lives to Christ. One week every summer truly makes a difference.” Likewise, 1,500 junior high students enjoy a similar beach retreat experience.

One teen issue — the divorce of parents — can be especially devastating. Second Baptist strives to prevent the pain of broken families from the front end. “We have a vital marriage ministry,” says Young. “It starts with premarital counseling, which we take very seriously. We perform weddings only after a couple has taken the course, complete with personality and compatibility testing.” Often people are in peril of being unequally yoked and discover the chasm in their relationship. “Perhaps one-third of couples in premarital counseling back out, realizing that a marriage — meant for a lifetime — would not survive. Others opt for a civil ceremony. But most couples equip themselves for a life-long union and take their vows, well prepared for the journey.”

Young knows a thing or two about marital longevity. He and wife, Jo Beth, were married June 28, 1959, and just celebrated their 52nd anniversary. With three sons and 10 grandchildren, the pair is a model example of a wonderful marriage. “Jo Beth is the heart of our home,” says Young. “I can’t fully express what her love and support has meant to me and our family over the years. She is an absolute blessing in my life — my wife, the mother of my children, and a tireless volunteer.” Working behind the scenes, Mrs. Young teaches two Bible classes at the West Campus in Katy and the Woodway Campus in Houston.

Young fondly reflects back to the days when his sons were growing up. “They were always daddy’s boys and kept me busy with sports and outing…until they reached the age of 14 or so. When they became attracted to females, they turned to their mother for advice. We saw this phenomenon with each of our sons,” says Young. “Each parent in every family plays a crucial role. I address this in our Winning Walk broadcast ministry which shares the key components of marriage and parenting.”

Young has authored several books on the topic — Against All Odds: Family Survival in a Hostile World; Romancing the Home: How to Have a Marriage That Sizzles; The 10 Commandments of Parenting; and The 10 Commandments of Marriage — helping untold families successfully navigate relationship challenges.

Young oversees many efforts in the community. “We have a multiplicity of ministries — you name it, we have it. Our staff and volunteers work in hospices, hospitals and paint restroom stalls in schools. We interact with the military, sending care packages. Our work with the homeless, the disabled, and the housebound is just as important. Visit a campus near you and get plugged in. There are many ways to serve the Lord by serving others,” says Young.

An enormous VBS program in July provides quite an adventure for thousands of children. Additionally, church nurseries follow the strictest hygiene codes, following the same standards as any hospital. “We work closely with Texas Children’s Hospital for guidance. From carpeting to sheets to a sterilized environment, any mother can leave her newborn in our care, resting assured that the conditions are very likely better than those in her own home,” he adds.

Second Baptist’s worldwide Mission Trips — Bring Peace 2011 campaign includes Guatemala, Mexico, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, Syria, Iraq and India. With the current crisis in the Middle East, the ministries in Syria, Iraq and India face the greatest danger. Second Baptist is in its fifth year of partnership with Jesus of Nazareth Church, providing VBS, food, clothing and counseling for Iraqi war refugees in Damascus. As second year partners with Charasia, a ministry in India, they focus on church leadership training and Bible study with girls in the Pune orphanage.

“Our dedicated, brave Christian Missionaries overseas witness to Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in very volatile environments. Please pray for them,” Young says. “We work very closely with the “Untouchables” or “Dalits” in India — those considered the lowest of the low. Their poverty and living conditions are heartbreaking.”

Young’s son, Cliff, of the popular band, Caedmon’s Call, sits on the board of the Untouchables ministry. The plight of the innocent who struggle and suffer is extremely important to the Young family as well as the church. It is Young’s hope that peace will come to the region, and that Christianity will bring soothing and healing to a troubled population.

Second Baptist Campuses include Woodway, West, North, South and Cypress. Visit Second Baptist’s website, www.second.org, to learn more about times and locations to worship and serve. The opportunities are endless, and there is something for everybody at each location. Dr. Young’s Winning Walk website is www.winningwalk.org. And to check out Caedmon’s Call, visit www.caedmonscall.com.

Students contemplate their lives on the beach

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