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EU alumni perspective: John Silvestry

Name: John Silvestry

Graduation Year: 2016

Major: Biblical Studies

Minor: Communication Studies

Current Position: Student Ministries Pastor

City and State: Shorewood, IL

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

Currently, I am the full-time Student Ministries Pastor at Southwest Community Church. I landed the position during my last semester at Evangel and started a month after graduation. I’ve been at Southwest now for about two years, and I absolutely love it! My job encompasses directly leading the youth group and coordinating with the leaders of our children’s ministry. I also have taken on some of the creative communication for our church by undertaking most of the video, photo, and social media. My job has many facets and has something different for me every day!

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

Move-in day my freshmen year was my very first day on Evangel’s campus. I’ll never forget how welcomed I felt when I stepped on campus. I was nervous all the way up to coming, and that day I was assured that my decision was right. Because of that day, my favorite time of the Evangel school year was always launch week! I was a launch leader for two years and a resident assistant for my last year. I always really enjoyed the anticipation of a fresh new year and getting to meet new people. It was always fun to help freshmen feel welcome to the Evangel family as soon as they show up. It was like I was helping that same freshmen “me” showing up for the first time.

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

I started my first semester with an Undecided Major. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do. I liked to do too many things! I enjoyed psychology, teaching, studying the Bible, technology, and people. I didn’t think I would be happy just picking one major because I had so many interests. Through listening to my professors, talking with peers, and praying, I realized that ministry encompassed most of these interests! So, I chose to stake my major in Biblical Studies and minor in Communication Studies. Both choices helped me to shape most of my interests into my calling. It was a great combination of education! I was in Hermeneutics in the morning, Social Media Communication in the afternoon, and running a radio show in the evening. Evangel gave me the eclectic environment I needed to develop the skills to pursue what God sent me out to do.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

At Evangel, I learned a lot of interpersonal and mass communication through constantly meeting new people, taking on leadership roles, and presenting in classes. I was given the communication skills I needed to network well once I graduated. My leadership skills were surprisingly tested and stretched as I got more involved at Evangel. As I became more involved in dorm life on campus, I served on floor councils, hall councils, and became an RA my last year. I was constantly challenged to do better and be better, and this helped me to gain a persistent work ethic that still helps me today. 

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! Become a sponge to your professors and peers. Never assume you know enough about your field and what you consider yourself skilled at. There’s always someone better at it and knows more. Be humble, and always be willing to learn from others. One thing I miss about Evangel is having professors and peers with great ideas to bounce around and co-create. It is much harder to come by these connections post-graduation. Even if you do, it won’t be as accessible or as large of a connection base. If you are willing to learn as much as possible with the resources you have currently, you will get a much better start after graduation. 

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

If I was in a position to hire, I would be looking at honesty and determination. There is a lot of value in someone who is honestly driven. Be upfront with not knowing how to do something. If you don’t have a certain skill, I would want to know that you’d be willing to dedicate some serious time to learning it. Pretending you’re a master of your craft is not attractive and is highly doubtful, considering you just graduated and have little experience compared to others already in the field. An honest and driven person is what I’d look for in any job scenario.