Straight out of college, Josh Young worked for Veneklasen Associates, a transnational multimillion dollar sound engineering firm. He bought a house in Santa Monica for his beautiful bride and budding family.
Then all of sudden, he jumped from the corporate ladder and ditched his enviable success.
“I felt unfulfilled at the engineering firm. I wanted to make an impact in people. But that was not financially feasible until there was a miracle in my finances,” said young-looking LCA teacher. “My mortgage went down. Instead of saving more money, I decided to take a pay- and benefit cut to work for the church and school.”
Now, Josh Young is poised to take over the Lighthouse Christian Academy as principal, as long-time chief Jack Mefford steps aside to pursue his calling to start a church in Pismo Beach this June.
Some would say Josh sabotaged his own financial security, but he is completely happy with his decision for people over pay.
“I’m living the American dream,” he insisted. “Well, if it’s just money and moving up the corporate ladder, no, I don’t miss that. It was stressful. It was very demanding. I wasn’t happy. Coming over here to try to help people, I’m healthier, happier. I have more freedom with my time. I’m able to pursue more interests like being a chaplain.”
For two years now, Josh Young has been the Chief Financial Officer of the Lighthouse Church schools and church planting machine. He was ordained as a pastor in 0000. He teaches government, guitar, economics and history at LCA.
And, he’s a chaplain for the Santa Monica Fire Department, which means he gets called out of the office (or his bed) whenever there’s a first-responder’s emergency and has to be on hand for victims of fire or violence in the moment of shock when tragedy just struck.
“It’s a great opportunity to help people that are experiencing very difficult moments in life. Usually it’s a death or a near-death, some life-altering event,” Josh said. “They are alone or scared, and just to be a compassionate person ministering to them and helping them is a privilege.”
How did he get roped into the unpaid chaplaincy? As with most great things that great men do, his great wife signed him up.
“She worked in the Santa Monica UCLA emergency room, and firemen came by and said they were starting a chaplain program, and they asked her if her husband would be interested,” he related. “The next thing I know, I got a phone call and they wanted to meet and talk about being a chaplain.”
Getting yanked from bed for a 3:00 a.m. fire may not be fun, but he gets to wear a cool fireman hat.
Josh Young was a child of divorce. His mom moved him and his two older sisters to Santa Monica. This may be hard to believe, but he was a rebellious kid.
As a punishment for misbehavior, he was forced to go to youth group at the Lighthouse Church.
Yup, that was the start of everything. (So don’t despair, parents, when your kids are disciplined.)
Ironically, his “punishment” led to friendships. He was in middle school and started making friends among the Lighthouse youth. This led to him accepting Jesus into his heart and becoming a disciple.
When he was about to enroll in high school, his mom asked: SaMoHi or LCA?
The rest is history.
As a scrawny freshman, he took PE, which at the time was working out with the football team. Weighing less than 100 pounds, Josh had absolutely no intention of playing 8-man varsity football with all the kid crushers in CIF’s Southern Section.
But before he knew it, he was being handed football pads and a helmet and found himself, bewildered and asking what happened, on the gridiron with guys three times his weight running at him and looking to crush him like an aluminum can.
“Let’s just say, I wasn’t a starter,” Josh recalled. “The greatest thing I did was I stopped a two-point conversion.”
LCA was going through something of a purge at the time with a slew of well-behaved kids being expelled, so his graduating class in the year 2000 was a mere four students. (Josh likes to brag that he graduated among the top four.)
Among his God decisions during high school, Josh bailed on the estrogen environment of his mom and sisters and moved into Pastor Rob Scribner’s house in north Santa Monica. Read the rest of LCA’s new principal.