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Going Deep to Reach the Next Generation

Published November 16, 2017

True biblical ministry is always rooted in and revolves around God’s Word. Teens need to understand and apply God’s Word. The need is especially acute for the youth of today—the distractions and emphasis in today’s culture on social and cultural assimilation is at times, all-consuming. The drive for activities, emphasis on the world’s definition of achievement and the hunger for connectedness result in a field that is ripe for harvest. The focus of my ministry is being an effective communicator of the Word of God. Regardless of the program or venue, preaching and teaching are central to what I am called to do. However, that doesn’t limit us to only the standard programs and venues. In fact, I’ve recently been able to combine my passion for ministry with my passion for scuba diving.

Our church has a long and recently growing relationship with Skyview Ranch, a Christian camp in central Ohio. Many of our teens attend, volunteer or work there. Two years ago, we began partnering with Skyview Ranch for two weeks each summer for Scuba Camp. This is a time for campers to learn more about the 80 percent of God’s creation they don’t normally get to see (the undersea world) with a clear teaching of God’s Word. The result is an engagement that helps teens learn about personal responsibility (strapping a 3000 psi tank of compressed air to your back and going 30 feet underwater will do that). Understanding the basic principles of scuba diving and ministering in the lives of teens makes this an unforgettable experience. Each teen works toward an Open Water Scuba Certification while spending time in God’s Word. So far, over 100 teens have been certified in two years, with many decisions for Christ for salvation, baptism and dedication.

I am constantly surprised and amazed that I find myself in youth ministry after 22 years, but my heart for youth is just as strong now as it was in the past. After doing 22 years of anything, one would hope to gain some degree of proficiency and effectiveness. My prayer is that I, like many of those who continue in the youth ministry for extended periods of time, continue to strive in demonstrating a hunger for God’s Word and specifically in the proper exegesis and exposition of God’s Word in ministry to those whom God has entrusted us with.

Overall, I feel humbled and privileged to be called by God to still be in ministry for this number of years, and the foundation of my current ministry was laid through my time at Clarks Summit University.

Robert Bolds earned his Master of Divinity from Baptist Bible Seminary in 1995. He also has a degree in applied mathematics from Ohio State University and an MBA from Ashland University. Bolds, who’s been named in “Who’s Who in American Business” is also an Open Water Scuba Instructor and Emergency First Responder Instructor for the Professional Association of Dive Instructors as well as an author and certified project manager. He and his wife Robin have two daughters and reside in Dublin, Ohio. He has 22 years of ministry experience at Fellowship Baptist Church. He enjoys basketball and weight lifting, and his scuba diving highlight has been exploring wrecks in the Caribbean and cavern diving in Central Florida. You can reach him at


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