Austin College Mobile Youth Ministry Team
The Austin College ACtivators are a group of Austin College students who work with Chaplain John Williams to plan and lead regional Presbyterian Church (USA) youth ministry events. The ACtivators traveling teams normally include four or five Austin College students and Rev. Williams. The teams choose scripture-based themes and prepare keynote presentations, small group materials, music, and recreational activities for each event. ACtivators also act as partners with other program organizations, filling leadership roles and working with other church groups who work with children, youth, adults, and senior citizens.
Since its founding in 1995, the ACtivators program has involved 591 Austin College students who have traveled over 178,000 miles to plan and lead 711 ministry events involving over 57,000 children, youth, college students, adults, and senior citizens.
Requirements for Being an ACtivator
Being an ACtivator is no easy task. We are looking for people who are faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, willing to put their life on the line....Well, that or... People who are willing to take a weekend and spend it having fun with groups of wonderful kids, can be silly, ready to work with other fun and interesting (and we do mean interesting!) college students. Typically you have to be an Austin College student, and you have to sign up for an event. Other than that, we have ACtivators of all types, shapes, sizes, talents, gifts, smells, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions about the ACtivators
Do you have to be Presbyterian to be an ACtivator?
Heck no! The only thing you have to be is willing to be stuck in large rooms filled with a great many Presbyterians.
What is an Energizer?
If you don't know, we can't tell ya. Come on one of our events and find out for yourself. You should probably stretch first.
What is the time commitment?
Along with 40 hours a week we require that you pass an exhaustive physical, academic, and psychospiritual qualifying exam. NO! It is like a lot of things in life...You get out of it what you put into it. You can sign up for one event or more (except first semester freshmen)...or if you are having a particularly busy semester, none at all. ACtivator events are almost always a weekend-long commitment unless you hear otherwise.
How do I get one of those cool ACtivator T-Shirts?
Survive being part of an ACtivators team, get a T-shirt—they are extra-special nifty and cool!
Do I have to be Christian?
Depends on the event. For some events, yes. But there are many things that the ACtivators do that cross all sorts of cultural boundaries. We would not want to limit ourselves to getting to know only one kind of God's people.
In Memoriam: Global Servant Leader Paul Farmer
The Austin College community celebrates the many accomplishments of global health crusader Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., even as we mourn his death today, February 21, 2022. Farmer was the 2007 recipient of the Austin College Leadership Award, presented March 1 at Belo Mansion in Dallas. His nonprofit health organization, Partners in Health, announced that Farmer,… [Read More]
Jorge Wilson ’03
CFO at Healthcare Utilization Review Corporation Class of 2003 BA in Business Administration and Religion from Austin College MS in Healthcare Administration from UT Arlington My most memorable times as an ACtivator were on those drives through West Texas on our way to New Mexico or Arizona for an event. Those 15 passenger vans were like time capsules and… [Read More]
Sarah Demarest Allen ’03
Class of 2003; Religion and Spanish major; Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 2007; Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary 2019. Sarah will begin serving as the Director for Ministerial Formation and Advanced Studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in December of 2021. Prior to serving at Austin Seminary, Sarah was… [Read More]
Rev. Keatan King ’09
Current Position: Associate Pastor at St. Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas; Graduation Year: 2009; Double Major in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish; Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Class of 2013, Master of Divinity It is difficult for me to imagine how I ever could have become a pastor without first being an ACtivator. Through dozens of… [Read More]
Rev. Shane Kermit Webb ’07
Current Position: Pastor Head of Staff at Woodhaven Presbyterian Church; Graduation year: 2007; Majors: Religious Studies and Spanish; Graduate work: MDiv @ Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary ’11 Post Graduation: I went to seminary, got married, then went off to Peru as a Young Adult Volunteer, then started serving churches as an ordained pastor Memorable time… [Read More]
Allison Harris Graves ’05
Current position: Vice President of Development at Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly; Class of 2005; Majors: Religion and Political Science; Sallie Majors Intern and Service Station Chairperson; Graduate degree: Master of Public Administration with focus on Nonprofit Management from University of North Texas, 2010. The Religious Life program created intentional spaces for me to learn servant leadership… [Read More]
Rev. Cameron Allen ’04
Director of Clinical Services at Hospice Austin; Class of 2004. BA in Religion @ Austin College; Class of 2007. MDIV @ Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary After graduating from seminary I became a hospice chaplain, eventually becoming interested in management and leadership. I am currently responsible for the end-of-life care for about 400 of my neighbors. … [Read More]
Amy Poling Sutherlun ’00
Co-Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in San Marcos, Texas; B.A. in English from AC in 2000; M.A. in Teaching from AC in 2001; M.Div. in 2005 from Princeton Theological Seminary; Honorary Doctor of Human Letters from AC in 2020 After graduating from AC, I married a fellow ACtivator, taught elementary school in inner-city Dallas, and… [Read More]
Seth Finch ’05
Since graduating Austin College, I attained two Master’s degrees and became the Pastor/Head of Staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Being a Sallie Majors Intern prepared me to approach situations with a creative lens. Rather than doing something the way we have always done it in the life of the church, I… [Read More]
Emily Bull ’10
I graduated from Austin College in 2010 with a major in Psychology and Religious Studies. I received a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Concentration in International Social and Economic Development in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. I moved back to Texas from Tanzania in 2018. I started working for UT… [Read More]
Kerri Welch ’01
As a Sallie Majors Church Relations Intern at Austin College, I refined my leadership, organizational, and teaching skills through planning and leading retreats for youth across the state and beyond. I earned my MA and PhD in Philosophy and Religion from California Institute of Integral Studies’ Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program, where I am now… [Read More]