This month, we sit down for coffee and a chat with Ethan Spivey, Youth Pastor at Mission Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In June, we were excited to have Ethan join us as a contributor to Three Streams, The Mission’s blog.Pull up a chair and join us in learning his favorite thing about student ministry and how he keeps his own spiritual life flourishing.
Q. What gets you up in the morning (energizes/motivates you)?
I’m naturally a morning person, so mornings are my favorite time of day. A good coffee or espresso mixed with a time of scripture, prayer, silence/meditation is a perfect beginning to the morning. Without this, the rest of my day doesn’t seem to flow as smoothly. On days off, early morning futbol (soccer) is a great way for me to get energized and outside.
Q. What is your daily devotional rhythm, or what does your own spiritual formation look like on a daily basis?
For mornings, I use the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) daily readings, pray for a little while, and then sit in silence/meditation letting God speak. For the rest of the day, I use an Anglican rosary. Three times a day for prayer to center myself back upon Christ: once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night. The beauty of the Anglican rosary is that I was able to create and write my own prayers. I use a combination of my own words with ancient prayers of the saints. Everything else I leave up to the Spirit. If He leads me to do something different or a lot of the same thing, I just flow with it.
Q. What is the most encouraging or memorable thing that happened in your life and ministry in the last year?
As a youth pastor, my goal is to help lead students to make the decision to have their own faith and not just depend on the faith of their parents. Hearing one of our parents in the church come to me and tell me, “I’m beginning to see my son take hold of his faith for the first time,” made my heart leap with joy. Those are the moments that keep me going and makes it all worth it.
Q. What person has most impacted your life, and why?
I think there are certain people who impact our lives in different seasons. Not to say it couldn’t be one person for your entire life, but currently, I would have to say my brother, Garrett. He was the one who challenged my faith and what I actually believed for the first time. His journey led me on a journey to discover The Anglican Mission, which is the church home that I had been looking for and praying about for quite some time. Without him, my life and faith would be vastly different from what it is today.
Q. What is one accomplishment in the past that you are proud of, and what is one thing that you would like to accomplish in the future?
I’m proud that I haven’t given up on the calling to be a pastor that God has placed on my life. Many obstacles have been in the way, and there will be more to come, but I’d rather be in the valley with God than without Him. Following God’s call hasn’t been easy, but it’s the best thing that I have ever done.
I’d actually really like to learn how to surf. Not just a one-lesson and done type of thing, but to the point where I’ve spent enough time in the water that I almost become one with it. There’s so much about the ocean that reminds me of our Maker.