Welcome to our New Youth Pastor, Andrew Hoots and Family (Valerie and Isaac)
Andrew began his ministry with us on Sunday, August 7, 2016. If you haven't gotten to know him well, here is a little information to help introduce him and his family.
What is your story?
For as long as I can remember my parents took my siblings and me to church. I was baptized at the early age of nine on Easter Sunday. I loved helping at church; youth group, Sunday school, vacation bible school, Wednesday evening meals, etc. But, it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I truly began to understand what Christ did for us on the cross. The summer before going to college I went on a mission trip and realized that I had a calling to go into ministry. Through some personal reflection, soul searching, and trying to ignore God’s calling, I decided to answer the call. I attended Campbell University where I studied Religion and Psychology, and then decided to go to Campbell University Divinity School to continue my theological education. While I was in divinity school I was the youth minister at a small church nearby. I learned some of the ins and outs of youth ministry and built lasting relationships with the teenagers that were there. Now, I work as the Assistant Chaplain at Mars Hill University and truly enjoy building lasting relationships with the college students who make their way to the Chaplains’ Office.
Tell us about your family.
I believe that God plays a part in every single moment of our lives, and I have no doubt that it is because God put the right people in my path at exactly the right moment. I was born in Charleston, South Carolina on August 24th, 1988 because my biological mother chose to ignore her mother’s advice to abort me before I was born. My adoptive parents, Ray and Judy, wanted to adopt because they thought they couldn’t have children of their own. After social workers approved my parents to adopt me, I went home with the Hoots family after I was three days old. Two months later, my parents found out they were pregnant with twins! After living in Charleston for five years, my parents decided to pack up our belongings and move to Yadkinville, North Carolina where the rest of our family resides. In May 1999, my brother, Davis, was born.
It was during my first semester freshman year in high school that I met Valerie. We sat beside one another during Algebra I. Math is not one of my strengths, so I would often turn to Valerie to ask her questions about what our teacher was writing on the board. She at least seemed like she understood. I found out years later that Valerie went home one day and told her mom that the boy who sat beside her in Algebra was “the most annoying kid” she had ever met! It wasn’t until our Junior year that we began dating. We took our relationship to the next level when I asked her to marry me during Christmas break of our first year in college. Our engagement lasted all four years of college. We finally got married on June 18, 2010 and have been happily married ever since.
On March 15, 2016 our little family grew by two feet when we welcomed Isaac Gabriel into our family with loving arms (and lots of kisses!).
I attended Campbell University for my undergraduate career and double majored in Psychology and Religion. While studying Psychology, my wife, her roommate and I studied the correlation between religiosity, spirituality and psychological well-being. After graduating from undergrad in May 2010, I started studying for my Master of Divinity at Campbell University Divinity School with a concentration in youth ministry. I graduated with my M. Div. in May 2014. Most recently, I was the chaplaincy resident at Mars Hill University studying under the MHU Chaplain, Stephanie McLeskey. The purpose of the residency was to learn how to be a chaplain in a college setting. That position turned into the position that I now hold at the university, Assistant Chaplain.
How do you like to spend your “free time”?
If and when I have free time, I love reading while hammocking in my authentic Honduran hammock. I also enjoy hiking, whitewater rafting, running obstacle races, and spending time with Valerie and Isaac.