I love my family! My wife Andrea, who is an amazing wife and mother and one of the best writers I know (you can find her work all over the place, look for it). My son Jack, who has more energy than humanly possible and can get out of just about anything with a giggle and smile, his crazy blue eyes don’t hurt either. My little girl Reese, who has been giving us all a run for our money since day one and to whom I am utterly powerless against. And finally there is Soren; he's polite and fun and is likely to grow up to be an evil genius. They are amazing! I am grateful for the family I have been given. Currently, we live in McKinney Texas and are on the journey of Church planting. This is where most of my ministry efforts go these days but I also write and speak. I previously served for nearly 5 years at Christ Church Plano, a thriving Anglican parish in Plano Texas. Before serving as a youth pastor I traveled full-time, speaking at conferences, retreats, and camps as my primary ministry. I continue to speak and write whenever I am able and the opportunity presents itself. It’s a privilege and a passion to follow Jesus and to share with others about the Christian journey and how we are created to live it together. My undergraduate degree is from Olivet Nazarene University. I have done graduate studies at various institutions and graduated with a Masters in Theological Studies from Nashotah House Theological Seminary. I am a priest in the Anglican Church of North America, under the leadership and authority of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Todd Hunter in The Dioceses of Churches for the Sake the Others.
// The Official Bio
Identity. It’s impossible to get a driver’s license or rent a movie without one. And yet, today’s adolescents and young adults struggle for years to figure out who they really are, to discover whom God has created them to be. It’s not easy when so many conflicting voices are shouting in your ear. It’s not easy when love and acceptance from your peers and sometimes even family is based on performance or appearance.
Erik Willits, is a church planter, youth pastor, speaker and writer. He comes alongside a generation caught in that struggle. For Erik, the issue of identity is a defining facet in his own story, an issue that’s followed him from birth to adulthood. His early years were marked by a father who named him and then abandoned him, leaving Erik to figure out the puzzle of who he really was. In middle school, Erik’s family had his name legally changed, adding to the 12-year-old’s confusion. His first real taste of belonging and identity came through interaction with his local church and when he began a relationship with Jesus Christ at a junior high camp. In fact, as Erik grew up, he discovered his identity was based less on his new name or old name, less on his circumstances or abilities and more on whom God individually created him to be. That process of discovery was difficult but rewarding, and has uniquely positioned Erik for life-changing ministry to students and young adults.
Erik has been privileged to speak all over the country, to lead a thriving student ministry at Christ Church Anglican in Plano, Texas, and now lives in McKinney, TX where he and his family work to plant a new Anglican parish. When speaking at events Erik often shares with students and young adults about Jesus’ role in finding and claiming their identities. He walks alongside middle schoolers on the cusp of “becoming” as they ask questions and seek out whom they were created to be. At the other end of the spectrum, he travels the country and speaks to students as well as young adults and college students who are largely living the consequences of not claiming their identity and growing into the people God created them to be. The psychological term “extended adolescence” describes a major problem plaguing today’s 20-somethings, stunting their maturity and preventing them from becoming all they were created to be.
“More and more, I’m observing that identity is connected to this problem of extended adolescence,” Erik says. “If college students and young adults haven’t really taken hold of the identity question as adolescents and teenagers, they continue trying to be a kid, extending their childhood and never really becoming men and women of God. I try to jump in on that conversation and encourage them not to be afraid of who they are, that God wants them to grow and mature in their lives and in their faith.”
Also known for his high value on building relationships and preaching the Bible, Erik spends his spare time blogging and writing about issues of faith, theology and everyday life, hoping to encourage not only students but pastors, parents and anyone braving the waters of faith in our world today.
“I want to see all believers living holy, world-changing lives in pursuit of God’s imaginative vision for all of creation,” he says. “I pray that I can be an instrument God uses to grow and refine this generation and the generations to come.”
The views on this blog are mine alone and do not represent my Church or any other organization I work with or for.