Youth, IT, and Teaching Over a Lifetime
The small town of Scottburgh on the east coast of South Africa is home to one of the world’s best surfing spots. It was also my home through my high school years where, during my sophomore year, I became a follower of Christ. As a young adult, I was part of a Youth for Christ short-term mission team where I met Mary, who was to become my wife two years later. We were very quickly immersed in the joys and challenges of parenthood as we had our three children within the first four years of marriage. During this time, I was enjoying a career in the IT department of a national bank, and serving as NYI president at Grace Church of the Nazarene in Port Elizabeth.
Deeper involvement in youth work led me to answer God’s call to fulltime ministry. After quitting my job with the bank, I attended Nazarene Theological College, South Africa where during my senior year, Horizon (now Cornerstone) Nazarene called me to be their youth pastor. Since then, I have always been involved in some kind of youth ministry: launching a short-term youth missions’ program on the Africa Region, serving on the General NYI Council as Regional representative for Africa Region, being a high school principal, youth pastor, senior pastor, and sharing in the faith journeys of hundreds of students and their families. I was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 1995, and immigrated to the USA in 1999, serving as youth pastor in Georgia, Iowa, and Florida and then as co-Pastor of The Bridge, a Nazarene Church with a campus ministry to Clemson and the nearby universities. I also managed Main Street Deli & Coffeehouse, a ministry center that served as a community “Third Place” during the week. I currently serve Nazarene Pensions & Benefits as a software developer, as well as teaching a Sunday School class at Shawnee Nazarene.
I enjoy music, playing the bass and acoustic guitars, still love computers, and spend most of my spare time restoring an antique Winnebago motor home. I keep track of the mixed fortunes of the South African rugby and cricket teams, as well as trying to understand football, basketball, and baseball.
The past twelve years that I have had the privilege of serving the NBC community as an adjunct instructor has been extremely rewarding. The caliber of women and men that have been in my classes gives me confidence that the future of the church is indeed bright. One example of the typical level of commitment exhibited by our students occurred a few years ago. I received an email from a student asking for an extension for an assignment. The reason: he and his family had just lost everything in a house fire, and he wasn’t sure how quickly he could get another computer set up to complete the assignment. This student caught up with his assignments by the end of the week, and completed the class successfully!
Rev. Kenneth Paynter has been an instructor at NBC since 2008.
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 11/02/2020