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Keith D. Miller
Graduated: 2005
Major: Christian Ministries
Pastor of Student Ministries, Manor Church, Lancaster

Choosing a MajorKeith Miller
Keith Miller has always connected well with others, particularly in interactions with young people, but it took a summer camp position while he was in high school to channel this interest into potential career goals.  He describes, “I felt such an intense passion and love for working with students that I realized youth ministry would be a perfect fit.”  Along with his interests, Keith also assessed his talents, realizing that “God gifted me with speaking skills, which gave me confidence” to pursue a vocation of ministry.

The Messiah Experience
Keith identifies three areas of campus life as key to shaping his Messiah experience.  “The first,” he explains, “was my Christian Ministries major, which was a fantastic experience as I grappled with new ideas alongside others that were studying the same field, and amidst professors that challenged and encouraged me to own my faith and ask difficult questions.”  Along with engaging the issues and concepts introduced in his course work, Keith also excelled in athletics, running track and cross country all four years and serving as captain of both teams his senior year.  He greatly values his involvement with Messiah athletics, noting, “To be constantly competing during each semester was a challenge, but it allowed me to stay focused, and the relationships I formed with my teammates continue to be among the strongest friendships I have today.  Being a part of one of Messiah’s teams was a life-impacting experience.”  Keith occupied the rest of his free time in Climenhaga Fine Arts Center, where he pursued his theatre minor and met his future wife.

Career Center Experience
As he prepared to leave college, Keith consulted the Career Center for assistance in compiling a resume.  He observes that “they gave me some guidance and insight, and feedback when I was done.  It was a great help.”

When asked which skills and experiences from college that he still finds applicable in the workplace, Keith enthusiastically responds, “All of them!  I constantly use the people skills that I learned while at Messiah, as well as the educational foundation that I received.”  Like many graduates, Keith also appreciates the multifaceted education afforded by a liberal arts education, and he finds it particularly applicable to his field:  “My job constantly requires me to be keeping up with cultures, trends, and new ideas, and Messiah did well at modeling that for me.”   While he knew he wanted to pursue ministry before he entered Messiah, he adds, “My experience there solidified my calling and gave me the confidence and skill that I was lacking.”

What to Do Next
Because he knew that he wanted to channel his major into youth ministry, Keith got a head start on the job search process and researched potential positions as a senior.  Professors like Stephen Gallaher, Jay McDermond, and Eric Seibert in the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies provided support for Keith as he prepared to graduate.  He acknowledges that “they all gave me insight into different areas of ministry and encouraged me in the long and arduous interview process.” 

Although with a job secured he was a step ahead of most graduating seniors, Keith describes the period immediately after graduation as “a whirlwind.”  He explains, “I had gone through the interview process with Manor Church in mid-spring, so I had already been hired by the time graduation came around.  The day after graduation, I moved and began working full-time.  A month later, I got married, and I’ve been running to keep up ever since!”  Although his transition from college to career was a bit overwhelming, Keith asserts that “the first year has been great, and the transition from college, for me at least, has been a relatively easy one.”


• “With joy almost always comes pain- but usually the tradeoff is well worth it.”
• “Follow your passion, and use it to glorify God.”
• "Try stuff out, stick your neck out, and don't write off an opportunity until you've tried."
• “We think sometimes that only certain gifts can glorify God – for example, “I love to play golf and I’m really good at it, but I could never use it for God.”  Ever thought of starting an inner city children’s golf clinic?  Be creative, and don’t try to fit into the world’s boxes, into the expectations of others.”

Addressing Doubts
The decision to pursue a position in ministry directly after college, Keith admits, has not always been affirming.  He acknowledges these times of doubt, stating, “I’ve frequently wondered if I’d be better suited for working with adults, or if I’d be less stressed if I didn’t have to bring my job home with me all the time.”  Ultimately, however, he understands that God has tuned and cultivated him for his current situation:  “the reality is that my current vocation gives me wonderful fulfillment and allows me to serve the Lord with my gifts to the best of my ability.  The times of doubt come and go, but I continue to trust that I can glorify God in whatever situation I’m in.”

A Typical Day

As the pastor of youth ministries at Manor Church, a Brethren in Christ church in Lancaster, PA, Keith directs the student ministries and serves as one of the leaders for the entire congregation.  He explains, “My job includes coordinating large events, weekly teaching, activity planning, organizing and leading mission trips within and outside of the U.S., counseling students, and just spending time with kids to get to know them and assure them that they are loved.”  With such varied responsibilities, Keith definitely does not settle into a day-to-day routine.  He asserts, “I’ll do a million and one things each day,” and the nature of his tasks ranges from professional (organizing overseas missions) to silly (downloading funny videos for his youth group) to spiritual (counseling an adolescent through emotional trauma.)

A "Why" Moment
When Keith reflects on the multifaceted nature of his vocation, he asserts, “It’s a strange thing, really.  The most gratifying part of my job is when I am privileged enough to get to see God change a heart through the power of love and reconciliation.  It’s amazing to watch personal transformation take place, and it’s humbling when God uses you in the process.”  More specifically, his interactions with his congregation and students reassure him that he is in the right place:  “When I hear a student mention how something just “kind of clicked” as they examined their faith, or when I see a student living out the love that we see in the life of Jesus, I get excited.  And when I see someone that is surprised that I care about them, that’s pretty cool too.”

Keith fulfills a role that many would consider an explicit position of service to the Lord, but he does not use it as an excuse to be passive; rather, he strives to live a life of intentional service through both his career and his daily activities.  “I try to reach out in love at every chance possible,” he asserts, “through work, through my recreation, through the church family.”

Dreams Still Dreaming
Keith is just beginning his journey of vocation, and he hopes to continue on his current path in ministry for a long time.  In the future he would like to pursue graduate study in peace and justice issues, but ultimately he describes his current goal as “just to serve the Lord, and continue to glorify Him in my life.  I have goals for our ministry—to see more spiritual growth, to see our students get excited about serving others and excited about reaching out to their friends that are hurting . . . but beyond that, I really just want to serve and be faithful to Christ.”


Profile by Tiffany DeRewal, August 2006


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