Bishop Leonard E. Fairley announces the appointment of the Rev. Jason Villegas as part-time Director of Youth Ministries, effective July 1, 2022. In this new position, his primary responsibility will be to build strong relationships between the Conference Youth Ministries Chairperson, Conference Council on Youth Ministry (which includes youth and adult members), District Youth Coordinators, Youth Operations Team, and local church youth workers to foster collaborative and effective connectional youth ministry.
The position serves to direct and vision Conference Youth Ministry, holding at its core youth discipleship development, anti-racism, diversity, and empowering ministry that reaches our communities where youth live. Rev. Villegas will also serve in a staff role on the Conference Connectional Table.
Director of Connectional Ministries, Steve Taylor, said, “Jason brings experience, exuberance, solid leadership, deep Christian discipleship, and a passion for sharing the love of Jesus to all youth. Jason always asks, ‘Who are the youth among us who we fail to see or exclude?’ I am deeply grateful that Jason will serve as Director of Youth Ministries.”
Rev. Villegas is the current pastor of Murfreesboro United Methodist Church in Hertford County and previously served full-time in two other rural churches. He will continue to serve Murfreesboro part-time.
He serves on the Hispanic-Latinx Ministries Committee of our Conference and has served on the Conference’s Missions Committee/Board of Missions, The Refugee and Immigration Committee, and led the Immigration Ministry Task Force.
He graduated from Duke Divinity School in 2013 with a Master of Divinity and a Certificate in Prison Studies after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Chowan University. He is currently in the Rural Ministry Fellowship cohort of the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School.
As a racially mixed Caucasian-Latino-Native American, Jason intentionally inhabits the liminal space between these cultures. He’s particularly interested in reimagining how the American Church can both atone for the harm it’s caused and continue to be reborn in a way that seeks justice and freedom through love and grace. To this end, he thinks that our current moment of service to God and humanity, like the funeral service, is a “service of death and resurrection,” where we see the old’s demise and wait for the birth of the new.