Chad Bernard New Youth Director
The Michigan Conference has been assessing the needs and direction of the conference and continues to place special emphasis upon youth ministry. It is no secret that young people are under attack and many are leaving the Adventist faith prior to entering college; and it goes without saying that this is an enormous challenge across the North American Division.
One specific need in Michigan was having the youth director in close proximity to the conference office in Lansing. Ken Micheff, who has served as youth director from 2007, had moved to Camp Au Sable after the hiring of Chad Bernard several years ago. He located there to oversee and manage the daily operations of Camp Au Sable, which had been added to his list of responsibilities. Due to the growing needs of the youth department and his own health challenges, he had decided to step down at the end of February and put his ministry focus on Camp Au Sable.
On February 19, Chad Bernard was appointed to serve as the new youth director by vote of the executive committee. He had been serving as associate youth director from June 2017. Chad is no stranger to Michigan. He previously taught at Oakwood Junior Academy from 1996 to 2002 and at Greater Lansing Adventist School as principal and teacher from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, he accepted a call to be the principal for Weimar Academy in northern California, where he served until returning to Michigan to minister in the youth department.
Elder Jim Micheff, conference president, acknowledged that the arms of any one person were simply not wide enough to cover all the responsibilities of the youth department. Therefore, the decision was made to create a separate department for Camp Au Sable—previously under the auspices of the youth department—with Ken leading the charge as the appointed camp director.
Elder Micheff has confidence that these changes will make the youth department more efficient and better serve the needs of our young people. “We need to focus on our youth. Thirty percent or less are attending our schools,” said Elder Micheff. “We understand the need to incorporate our youth into the church. Chad will be able to focus on ministering to all our youth across the conference.”
The youth department leadership, which includes Chad, Ken, and Craig Harris, share a close friendship and camaraderie. They will continue to work together and support each other in finding ways to better reach and minister to the youth in Michigan.
“My wife and I both feel God had prepared Chad to be in the position he’s in,” said Ken Micheff. “The youth department needs someone younger to advance the work. I’m just so thrilled he’s the youth director. I’m excited that the focus will be on the youth in the local church setting. With the demands of camp, that hasn’t been accomplished, but now it’s possible!"