Sometimes, God’s plans for our lives are different than our own. We see this over and over again in the Bible: Moses, terrified of public speaking, was called to speak on behalf of an entire marginalized people group; Jonah, the stubborn and hard-hearted prophet, was called to save a people he despised; and Paul, a former Jewish hardliner and persecutor of Christians turned Christian apostle. They all prove that God’s plans aren’t always predictable – but they are always perfect.
Betty Pompell knows this from first-hand experience. She’s a music-performance-major-turned-college-admissions-counselor-turned-youth-center-director – not exactly the trajectory she envisioned for herself when she enrolled at LBC as a freshman. As a student at LBC | Capital, Pompell always felt drawn to deep theological conversations, and found herself trying to absorb all she could through her classes, eating up the writings of Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther and the like. It’s this same hunger for knowledge of God, and her natural-born giftings of leadership and relationship-building, that now drive her to engage with the teens who come to The Factory Ministries in Paradise, Pennsylvania.
The Factory Ministries is a Christian non-profit that offers social services to those in the local community, including a youth center, food bank, access to caseworkers and social workers and more. Pompell’s role as the youth center director involves a lot of time investing in the lives of broken and under-resourced teenagers (meaning they live below the poverty line). In her own words: “It’s literally my job to love teenagers. I didn’t think that was something I could get paid for!” Teens come to the youth center to enjoy hot meals, recreational space, time with caring adults and are exposed the gospel through Bible studies and more.
While the job certainly has its challenges – many of the teens who come live in poverty, deal with drug addictions, abuse, broken families and more – Pompell is hopeful for their futures, saying that walking alongside the teens has taught her much. “I’m a lot less concerned with external behavior now,” she explained. “I look past the immodesty and the teetering vulgarity and I look to the open wounds, to the scars.” That, she explained, is the key to learning how to relate and interact with the students.
And while her educational background might not have taught her directly about how to be a youth center director, it did offer her other valuable lessons. “In some ways, my time and major at LBC did not ’prepare‘ me for my responsibilities as a youth center director,” she explained. “My studies did not teach me how to budget for events, or how to respond to suicidal students, or how to recruit committed volunteers. Fortunately, my education experience at LBC was so much more than information, content and job prep.”
Pompell continued, saying, “Instead, my time at LBC instilled in me a love for learning, showed me the value of introspection, and cultivated my love for knowing God. My time at LBC inspired a love for ministry, molded my work-ethic, and gave me the opportunity to be invested in by amazing, godly men and women. My time at LBC rooted my faith in understanding and discipline, and sparked a desire and confidence to share the good news of the Gospel with anyone who will listen! These passions, values, and skills have been imperative to my work at the Youth Center.” She also is quick to note that the woman she is today did not come purely from her own efforts. Says Pompell, “I am the woman, and therefore the ministry leader I am today, because of Dr. Teague’s humility, Dr. Bigley’s kindness, Dr. Soden’s brilliance, Dr. Sidebothom’s tenderness, Amy’s friendship, Emerald’s prayers, Josh’s passion, Kim’s accountability, Mandi’s encouragement, Timmy’s example, Kristen’s steadfastness, Jess’s patience, Carrissa’s thoughtfulness, and Judy’s support – just to name a few. My time at Lancaster Bible College, through education and relationships, shaped who I am, how I think and what I value. I am beyond thankful to be the youth center director at The Factory Ministries, and beyond thankful that God used my time at Lancaster Bible College to prepare me to do the work He has for me there.”