Connecting Youth and Church – Dn. Paul Zaharas

It is such an honor and blessing to interview Dn. Paul Zaharas.  He is the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Denver, the Assistant to Metropolitan Isaiah, the Chairman of the OCF Board of Directors, a husband and father, and the Director of Camp Emmanuel.  He has also traveled on several mission trips, one of which includes Kenya with OCMC.

I first met Dn. Paul when I was a counselor at Camp Emmanuel.  I have always looked up to him and been inspired by his thoughtful, prayerful, and educated approach to the Youth Ministry.  I feel extremely blessed that I was able to learn from him and I am sure there are hundreds more who feel the same way.  The lessons I learned from camp are still with me and have helped to shape my philosophy of youth work and even teaching.

I’ll never forget the somber silence in the van as we pulled away from the camp every year, or the excited commotion of sharing memories that occurred 30 minutes later… and even now, years later.   It is through Dn. Paul’s hard work and his approach to ministry, that these lifelong memories have been created for thousands of Orthodox youth.  I cannot thank him enough for the difference he has made in my life, and for being a powerful example of youth ministry.

Hello my Name is: Dn. Paul Zaharas

My patron saint is: My baptismal and ordination name is Apostolos, so I celebrate the feast of the holy Apostles on June 30.

My favorite children’s book is: “From I-ville to You-ville” by Mersine Vigopoulou. A great book that teaches us to think a little less about ourselves and a little more about others and about God.

My job is: Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Denver (GOA).

What I love about my job: I really enjoy developing programs and resources that are useful for youth workers and beneficial to the young people they serve. In today’s challenging society it is imperative that we, as members of the Church, fulfill our responsibility of educating and edifying Christ’s “little ones.”

If I could tell our youth one thing it would be: Make Christ a part of your decision making process, each and every day. Life continually presents us with challenging choices to make. When we make Christ a factor in our decisions we strengthen our relationship with Him and the fruits of that relationship are seen. On the other hand, if we exclude Christ from our lives, in choices large and small, the blessings of His grace and love become difficult to see and understand.

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