Youth pastor Develis overcomes difficult childhood

Jake Oeck
Staff Writer

“Child Protection Services got involved when I was eight years old.  They pulled me and my brother out of the home because of the drug abuse and the fact that my mom’s boyfriend was abusive,” Jerayl Develis said, “Even just growing up was hard since we were poor and because of things like that.”

Good Shepherd Community Church’s youth pastor Jerayl Develis never thought he would be a pastor.  He began life in an extremely abusive home and never had a role model.

Photo Courtesy Jerayl Develis

“I didn’t have anybody around me that was a good example.  My dad offered to smoke weed with me and drink with me at age 12.  So even by a young age it was accessible.  If I wanted to get high, I could get high, if I wanted to drink, I could drink.  If I want to have parties, I could.  It sent me on a search to find whatever was most pleasurable,” he explained. 

Develis lived this way into early adulthood.  He was able to try anything he desired to do to feel good no matter how unhealthy with nobody there to say no.

 “I remember waking up one morning after a huge party and after achieving all that I remember just feeling empty.  And dissatisfied.  I thought, ‘Is this all there is?’” Develis said. 

For a short while, Develis tried using more drugs and more partying to chase that satisfaction but it continued to fall short.  This went on until one night when his friend invited him to a High School Church camp.

“I remember it was a Friday night and this pastor was talking and he said, ‘maybe you’re just here to have a good time, maybe you’re here to talk to girls, maybe you’re here feeling pretty empty and broken, because everything you’ve chased has left you disappointed.’ And I thought, ‘who told the pastor about me?’  He was describing my life,” Develis said. 

At the end of the service, Jerayl Develis made the choice to surrender his life to Christianity.  That was the last time he ever smoked marijuana.

“The pastor started talking to me about the fact that there’s a God in heaven who loves me.  And even though I had come from a home where I was abandoned and wasn’t loved.  God didn’t abandon me,” he said. 

From that moment on Develis began to make changes.  He lost friends when he told them he was done with drugs and parties, but he knew that he wasn’t finding fulfillment in that.  He began to work on himself.

“I went on a mission trip to Haiti after a few years of being a Christian.  At this point I’d wanted to pursue criminal justice in some form.  But I went on this summer trip and just fell in love with preaching God’s word and teaching people,” Develis said.

It was at this time that Jerayl Develis decided to become Pastor Jerayl Develis.  He hopes that he will reach more people like himself and show them that they aren’t too broken to be healed, and that they are loved.

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