Brad Roberts ’15
Master of Divinity, Reformed Theological Seminary
Current city and job:
Chattanooga, TN | Director of Youth Ministry, First Presbyterian Church Chattanooga
What first interested you in your career? How did you discern your calling?
I grew up in a healthy and robust youth ministry. I saw ministry done very well in my home church, and I became a student leader. Even though I wasn’t thinking about a career in ministry, there was always the expectation that I'd at least volunteer in some capacity in a youth ministry of a local church.
I thought I was going to go into aviation. But over my freshman year at Covenant, it became clear that there was a call to teach, disciple, and minister to youth. I wasn't quite sure in which avenue, so I took the intro to teaching course, the youth ministry courses, worked at various camps, and volunteered at a local church. Over the course of my time at Covenant, I was equipped to discern that my call was to do this within the context of the local church.
I’ve enjoyed ministry immensely. Just the other day, I had the privilege of overhearing one of my 6th grade boys say to his friend, "I'm so excited to come to small groups so I can learn more about Jesus." Need I say more? Discipling students isn't always that peachy, but being able to walk with them (and their parents) through the rather ridiculous culture we live in is a joy because you're able to see God flaunt his Covenant faithfulness to His promises towards His people.
What has your career path looked like since graduating from Covenant?
After graduating in 2015, I moved back home to Charlotte to work as a pastoral intern in youth ministry at Christ Covenant Church (PCA), my home church. I also began seminary classes at RTS. In June 2017, I moved to Rome, Georgia, to work full time as assistant director of high school at First Presbyterian Church (EPC). In January 2021, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, to be the youth director at Fairview Christian Fellowship (PCA). Finally, in January 2023, I moved back to Chattanooga to be the director of youth ministry at First Presbyterian Church (PCA). Amidst all the moves, I'm finally about to finish seminary in 2024.
God has proven his faithfulness many times over since graduation. He has always provided for what I need, though many times it wasn't what I thought I wanted. In one particular example, a church I worked for unexpectedly restructured the staff, and I lost my position. The sad part is that the church wasn't very gracious with its severance package. And yet, in a short period of time, God (and very clearly by His doing) opened a door to another ministry that I was able to begin just as severance ended. It wasn't what I wanted, but even those steps led me to begin dating the woman I'm married to now. I would have never chosen that path for myself, but God proved Himself to be faithful to me, my real needs (including a godly spouse), and a better ministry context for my gifts.
Looking back now, how did Covenant prepare you for grad school and your career?
The biblical and theological studies major prepared me very much for the work in church ministry, as well as for the continued coursework at Reformed Theological Seminary. Having several Covenant College friends also in the ministry, I have a solid network of encouragers, even today.
Covenant helped me to recognize and value every element that goes into church ministry. On the one hand, youth workers are tempted to feel like second class ministers who need to eventually "move up the ladder" and become a "real pastor" one day. Covenant helped me to see that I bring real value to the kingdom work simply as a youth director. On the other hand, youth workers as people who work in ministry can also undermine and undervalue others: those who care for our facilities, who deliver our countless Amazon orders, and the homeless who walk by our building. Covenant helped train me to value people for their personhood, not their socioeconomic status, career choice, or calling.
In what ways did Covenant impact your faith, and how does your faith inform your career?
Covenant fostered an environment where spiritual growth and development could be found in every aspect of campus life. It cultivated a heart for learning and being humbly teachable as a creature made in the image of God. My faith is foundational to every aspect of my life. It informs my values in marriage, my ethics at work, the way I interact with others, and my character. Covenant played an important role in my college years to build and strengthen my faith.
What advice would you give students who are considering Covenant?
I would encourage you to weigh the options against your goals. If you take Christian discipleship, development, and community seriously, then Covenant should be a serious contender for your higher education. Be prepared to balance rigorous academics with an incredibly fun community. And just look at the slate of incredibly gifted and caring professors! It's hard to beat.
For those who are seriously considering a career in ministry, you should find a mentor
in the youth ministry field and gather a few others who can encourage you in this
work. There are many days of fun, games, and good times, but if you don't have people
you can lean into when the crap hits the fan, the parents are angry, your students
are rebellious, and bosses are unforgiving, you'll find yourself burning out.
Look me up and reach out. I'd be happy to answer questions or even make some networking connections for you.
Why did you choose Covenant?
There were many factors in my decision to attend Covenant. My mom graduated from there in '84, my older sister was there when I visited in 2012, I attended several summer YXL conferences that were hosted there, and I was able to get a good financial aid package. It all boils down to the fact that Covenant demonstrated its care for me as a human person.
Looking back, what is something you appreciate most about your time at Covenant?
The community, of course! I thought I was going to transfer after my freshman year to pursue a career in aviation, but the community was too strong. I just couldn't leave knowing I'd be missing out on some of the best opportunities for spiritual and professional growth.
What are some fond memories or a favorite story from your time at Covenant?
So many memories come to mind, but one in particular was when I received the senior superlative "Most Likely to be a Youth Pastor at 70 Years Old." I wasn't aware of the superlatives, but it really confirmed my call and desire to work with students, not as a stepping stone to other ministry, but as a career focus.
Also, Covenant brought me two great brother-in-laws! So, while some people might negatively stereotype it for that, I embrace the fact that through Covenant College families are brought together and formed with a solid Christian foundation. My brother-in-laws are lucky to have gone to Covenant and met my sisters there.
Undergraduate Departments, Majors, Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, and Programs
- Arts Administration
- Environmental Stewardship & Sustainability
- Journalism and Society
- Medical Ethics Consultation
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
- Art, 2-D Concentration
- Art, 3-D Concentration
- Art, Art History Concentration
- Art, Graphic Design Concentration
- Art, Photography Concentration
- Art minor
- Art History minor
- Biblical & Theological Studies
- Biblical & Theological Studies, Missions Concentration
- Biblical & Theological Studies minor
- Biblical Languages minor
- History of Christianity minor
- Missions minor
- Youth Ministry minor
- Biology, Biomedical Concentration
- Biology, Environmental Concentration
- Biology, General
- Biology, Health Professions Concentration
- Biology minor
- Business, Accounting Concentration
- Business, Finance Concentration
- Business, Marketing Concentration
- Sport Management
- Business minor
- Sport Management minor
- Chemistry, Biochemistry Concentration
- Chemistry, General
- Biochemistry minor
- Chemistry minor
- Community Development
- Community Development minor
- Computer Science
- Computer Science minor
- Economics minor
- Education Studies
- Elementary Education (P-5)
- Secondary Education Certifications through MAT program
- Education minor
- Natural Science, Pre-Engineering Studies Concentration
- English, Writing Concentration
- English minor
- Writing minor
- Coaching minor
- History, Art History Concentration
- Political Science
- International Studies
- History minor
- Political Science minor
- Interdisciplinary Studies with Concentrations
- Mathematics minor
- Music, Church Music Concentration
- Music, Creative Studies Concentration
- Music, General Music Concentration
- Music, Instrumental Performance Concentration
- Music, Music Education (Pre-MAT) Concentration
- Music, Organ Performance Concentration
- Music, Piano Pedagogy Concentration
- Music, Piano Performance Concentration
- Music, Vocal Performance Concentration
- Music minor
- Philosophy minor
- Physics minor
- Pre-Law Studies
- Pre-Medical Studies
- Pre-Nursing Studies
- Pre-Physical Therapy Studies
- Psychology minor
- Sociology, Family Studies & Social Work Concentration
- Sociology minor
- Theatre minor
- French minor
- Spanish minor