David Tschumper: 20 years of youth ministry—and going strong
By Nissa LaPoint
Some estimate the average lifespan of a youth minister’s job at a parish is 18 months.
David Tschumper passed his 20-year anniversary as youth minister at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial with a celebration last month. He’s looking forward to 20 more years, he said.
“I just really believe in the ministry,” he said. “It’s not about babysitting or pizza parties; it’s about bringing kids closer to Christ’s Church.”
He celebrated his two-decade anniversary among the many youths and families touched by his zeal for Christ and approachable personality.
Youths and parents filled the gymnasium at the parish June 24 to eat, sing and share a surprise video and slideshow honoring his dedication to the ministry.
“I think the beauty of being in it a long time is seeing the fruits of your labor as they begin to bloom and you see great things,” he told the Denver Catholic Register.
The gym was decorated with tables featuring different youth events and retreats Tschumper held at the parish. Guppy Fest and the purity rally “Ain’t Misbehavin” have been staples of the parish as well as the Upon This Rock rally and Servant Leadership weekend.
“We try to move kids from receiving to giving,” he said.
His ministry has made an impact of youth who have grown and returned to work for him, including high school youth minister Sue Frank and Brian Vogel, who volunteers.
“He loves the Lord so much,” Vogel said. “He’s a man with a really giant heart.”
Tschumper has built his ministry on the 1976 Vatican document “Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry.”
His call to the ministry began after he attended a Christian concert.
“I saw all these youth ministers get up and they pray with all these teenagers and it really moved me,” he said.
He began attending St. Thomas More Parish in 1976 as a child and the church became foundational to his life after his brother was killed. He later attended the University of Northern Colorado and eventually found his call to youth ministry.
When he became the youth minister at St. Thomas More, he led youths to many World Youth Days, mission trips, purity rallies and retreats locally and abroad.
He said he is thankful to his wife and family for their support.
“I feel so blessed being in youth ministry,” he said. “I’m just really thankful for the opportunity St. Thomas More and the Church has given me. I’m so thankful for the kids. They affect me as much as I affect them.”