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Minnesota natives may have grown up knowing Kirby St. John as “The Superintendent’s Son,” the fun-loving, raspy-voiced Rec Director at Teen Camp, or the dynamic, passionate Youth Pastor at River of Life in Cold Spring. Today he takes on a new role as the Minnesota District Youth Director (DYD) overseeing Minnesota Student Ministries.

Kirby was born in Hibbing, MN, the youngest of two sons, to Clarence and Vicky St. John. He grew up in a pastor’s home, but never expected to follow in his father’s footsteps. Upon Clarence’s election to Superintendent in 1989, the family moved to Bloomington, where they attended Bloomington AG (now Cedar Valley Church). It was there that God cultivated Kirby’s heart for the youth of Minnesota, while he was still a teenager himself.

He began his college career at Evangel University in Springfield, MO and continued his education at North Central University. He was set up to work with a church in Arizona after graduation, but Pastor Denny Curran had other plans. After four official invitations, Kirby finally said “Yes!” to become the Youth Pastor at River of Life Church.

Shortly after joining the church, he noticed Pastor Denny’s daughter, Desiree, and in 1999 they were married and began doing ministry together. They have three children: Caden, Kienna, and Makiya.

The average stay of a youth pastor in most churches is 18 months; Kirby served the youth and community of Cold Spring for 18 years. During that time, the youth group, known as Breakthrough, grew from 15 students to over 300, requiring a separate youth facility, built in 2005.

Kirby’s heart extends beyond his community as well. In the course of his time at River of Life, Breakthrough has given over $660,000 to help drill water wells, buy missionary vehicles, spread the gospel, feed starving children, and end sex trafficking.

He dreamed of a place to train college students to do effective ministry in a rural setting, and Heartland Master’s Commission (HMC) was birthed. In ten years, nearly 100 students have been trained and equipped through HMC.

Numerous times, Ezekiel 37 has been spoken over Kirby’s life. During his time in Cold Spring he helped dead bones come back to life and raised up an army of people who love Jesus and who love the people around them.

Kirby brings this calling with him as he steps into leading the youth pastors of Minnesota. His compassion is compelling, his joy is contagious and his vision is ever expanding.

We welcome Kirby and Desiree St. John to our Minnesota District leadership team!