Conversion Journey: Alumni Profile of Richard Young (ThM, 2022)
Training pastors and teachers lies at the core of DTS, but our outreach has always gone far beyond the purview of our physical campuses. Our unequivocal desire is to train believers worldwide to know Scripture and allow it to bear fruit in their lives.
In 2015, DTS made the purposeful decision to take key portions of its curriculum and offer it online for free. The Lord used that simple action to impact the lives of countless believers across the globe.
I want to introduce you to one of those students. Meet Richard.
By common standards, Richard Young was an anomaly. Raised in a single-parent, non-Christian household, he became the first in his family to graduate from college. He then had the opportunity to study Mandarin in mainland China—an accomplishment that landed him a career with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong in 2009. Even amidst his academic and professional success, Richard still struggled internally with the profound void his father’s absence had left. Seeking unattained fulfillment, the allure of heavy partying enchanted him. Not long after assuming his position, his new lifestyle cost him his job.
Just when his life seemed to crumble, the Lord intervened. Richard crossed paths with a believer in Hong Kong, Jesed, and gladly participated in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at her church. Although Richard came for the meal, he had no way of knowing that the words spoken that night by the pastor, a DTS alum, would alter the trajectory of his life forever.
On that unusual Thursday in 2010, Richard heard the gospel clearly presented for the first time, and it sparked an intense curiosity that would mature rapidly. Over the next several months, the Lord opened Richard’s eyes. He experienced a radical conversion and intimately came to understand the beauty of the gospel. In faith, he accepted forgiveness for his sin and salvation in Christ alone. Just weeks after his conversion, he was baptized, and as he emerged, he knew that he had left his old life behind and genuinely believed that Jesus had made him new (2 Cor. 5:17). He and Jesed were married a few years later (2014).
As his love and gratitude for Christ amplified, so also did his desire to help others experience the same freedom as he. Eagerly, Richard began serving in an addiction recovery ministry and co-teaching a workplace Bible study. Desiring to help equip him, his pastor introduced him to DTS and encouraged him to enroll in the Free Online Courses the Seminary offered. Neither the pastor nor Richard could have known the substantial impact this invitation would have on Richard’s ministry for years to come.
Richard’s fascination with the Scriptures increased with each lecture as he absorbed world-class teaching from renowned DTS professors such as Drs. Howard Hendricks, Stanley Toussaint, Mark Bailey, and James Allman. As a result, Richard sensed the Lord leading him to DTS.
In the fall of 2016, Richard enrolled online in the Master of Theology program. Sacrificing his livelihood in Hong Kong, he and Jesed returned to Canada to begin pursuing vocational ministry. After studying online for three years, the Lord led their family to move to Dallas in 2020 so Richard could complete his degree.
At a time when living in community was on pause for much of the world due to the global pandemic, Richard and Jesed formed deep, lasting relationships and learned what it truly meant to love your neighbor. Through his time as a Spiritual Formation leader and as an intern for the Hendricks Center, Richard learned to engage in difficult cultural conversations with charity and kindness, while remaining unmoved in his convictions. As he reflects on his journey now as a recent graduate (2022), he credits DTS with forming him into a compassionate servant-leader. In addition to the rich biblical and theological training he received, it is this character formation that he will carry with him in his new role as Pastor of Care at a local church in Vancouver.
In Richard’s words, “I have to pinch myself sometimes and just give praise to God. Just seven years ago, God was stirring my heart to complete a degree at DTS through the teaching of Howard Hendricks, and now I call his son, Bill, a friend and mentor. I feel blessed to have been led by President Yarbrough and the rest of the DTS faculty and staff.”
* If you would like to experience seminary teachings today, you can start by exploring our catalog of Free Online Courses.
About the Contributors
Chantelle B. Hobbs
Chantelle B. Hobbs is a passionate “people person” committed to the holistic flourishing of those around her. Her joy lies at the intersection of culture and theology, and that joy is made complete through opportunities to cultivate theological curiosity with others in formative settings. At present, Chantelle serves as an Advancement Officer for Dallas Theological Seminary. Her latest devotional, Learning to Lament with the Spirituals, can be found on the YouVersion Bible app.
Her beloved cultural delights include tasting all of Yelp’s top-rated restaurants, binge-reading psychological thrillers, and traveling the world with her husband, Marquice.
Education: ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary (2021); B.A. Public Relations and Nonprofit Leadership from Georgia State University (2017).