If you were being treated to a free lunch, where would you go?
I don’t even need to think about it, Taco Bell, and I would get 2 chicken quesadillas and the biggest soda possible.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
Josh Hutcherson. Not because I’m a huge fan or think that he’s an amazing actor but because I want to keep it realistic. He is short, like me. Although he does have those Hollywood good looks, not like me.
Who is your role model?
Brian Bowhay, my youth pastor. He was my first spiritual role model and later my mentor. He taught me about God’s Universe, the Marvel Universe, and how to tell good stories. He also taught me how to risk taking off my mask around other people and begin feeling accepted for who I am and to believe that Jesus loves that version of myself.
Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
Is memory a part of the five senses? I have the strongest (weirdest) memory for details of other people’s lives, especially for unimportant facts and first meetings.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say?
I would describe myself as a hugger. I don’t know if that is because I actually love hugs or because I am so self-conscious of my handshaking abilities that I prefer hugging. It would read: WARNING! I may hug you before you are ready for a hug (if we shake hands 80% of the time it will suck).
What is your favorite part about what you do at Community West?
My favorite part about what I do is being with people! I believe that God intended for humans to flourish in relationship with one another. I love seeing what makes people tick, and being in their element with them. I think this is where life is really lived!
I grew up as a shy, quiet guy in the suburbs of Fairfax, Virginia, and it wasn’t until high school that I truly began living outside of my shell. I was raised in a bit of a dysfunctional family, and was brought to church by my mother. Throughout my upbringing I got a taste for a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and sports, but really settled into marching band and competitive swimming.
It was through my church family that I met God and desired growth in my life. I would have told you then that I was a Christian, but I really only understood half of what that meant.
I went to James Madison University where I started off as a music major playing the Euphonium but switched to a Social Justice major in my sophomore year. While at JMU I was a part of the InterVarsity chapter on campus, and it was in my freshmen year that I finally understood that Jesus was not just Lord of my life, but a Lord that loved me, a Lord who was more “Team Hayden” than anyone that I had met. Later in college I was privileged with a variety of leadership roles in InterVarsity and began taking interest in pursuing ministry after college.
Now I am doing what I love, working with students and trying to create environments similar to the ones where I first felt truly loved and accepted. Growing up in a healthy youth group has allowed me to boldly live as myself…a hybrid nerd, someone who loves to be active and play sports while at the same time loves tabletop games and “geek” culture. My hope is that I can help enable Community West Church to be the home base for other people that my church was for me: a place where you can be confident and comfortable to be who you are and discover how you can be more of that person with God.