Friday, June 14, 2013

An interview with Brian Dawson: Husband, Father, Associate Dean and our Newest U.S. Board Member!

Brian is one of three generations impacted by CSB

Brian Dawson is now one of three generations of men who have been influenced dramatically by the ministry of CSB and we are pleased to announce that he has been unanimously approved as the newest member of the U.S. Board.

We are excited about the important perspective he brings as well as his deep experience with Alumni care and the creation of internships. His expertise gained in these areas as a university dean, now serving at Pepperdine University, will be invaluable.

I have personally had the privilege of knowing the Dawson family for almost 25 years. I remember Dick, Brian’s father, who led a sailing camp of which I was a part. He was one of those guys who is memorable yet unassuming. Little did I guess so many years ago that I would have the chance to lead trips with Dick’s son, and would then have a chance to influence his grandson, Drake, as a Junior Counselor. The Dawsons are a great example of the inter-generatio
nal nature of our ministry.

Below are some excerpts from a phone conversation I had with Brian. I hope that this short interchange helps you to get to know Brian a bit better as well as the exciting direction that the board is now moving CSB. 

Dave: Tell me a bit about your family and your role as an associate Dean at Pepperdine University
Brian: I’ve been married 20 years this summer and have 2 children. As a student in college I felt the Lord calling us into some sort of campus ministry so our first step post college was to start a young men's bible study for a Christian fraternity which ultimately led me into student housing as a career. I spent 17 years in the state school system but began to feel a real desire to do work and ministry together which was impossible working in a secular system. God graciously opened up an opportunity to become an associate Dean at Pepperdine University which finally has allowed us do both evangelism and discipleship as a part of my job, a two-fold ministry very similar to what I experienced growing up in CSB.

Dave: How did you get involved with CSB?
Brian: Like a lot of boys I was invited by a friend. The first man I can remember was Charlie Peck. I remember that he was a plumber who loved the Lord. I still remember many of the principles he taught me but mostly I knew that he loved the boys he served and had a ton of fun with us. Shortly after I started, my dad also got involved and worked in both stockade and battalion. Every man in my family was an Eagle Scout. I’m the only one in my generation to have the honor of being a Herald of Christ.

Dave: How would you describe yourself when you were a young man?
Brian:I would say when I was in stockade and Jr. High I felt like I was a nerd and was kinda on the outside of the social loop. But I always felt like Brigade was a place I was welcome, where everyone was involved. As a high schooler  I was rebellious and had issues with authority. I think the Battalion achievements actually helped give me focus and was a program that I was committed to that helped keep me on track.

Dave: What roll did CSB play in your growth as a follower of Jesus?
Brian: I came into the program already knowing Jesus Christ but what Brigade did was to give me disciplines that are still with me today like getting me into The Word regularly through achievements and squad meetings. Scripture memory became an important part of my walk. I remember one Camporal we quoted more than 60 verses. We had to encourage each other since the lowest number of verses is what  counted. I think that’s kind of amazing for a bunch of high school guys to quote that many verses in one weekend many I can still quote to this day. 
Brigade also provided good role models, both men and my peers. In my time there were 7 or 8 Heralds of Christ at my church in my 6 years of battalion. These were kids to look up to and
they were encouraging to us younger boys to get involved and to do achievements. I was provided great goals for me to shoot toward.

Dave: Are there any stories that stick out in your mind from your time with CSB?
Brian: I think some of my favorite memories were just spending time serving at summer camp. It was probably the camaraderie, just hanging out with guys, the example of real men around me. We didn't see a girl for weeks at a time which allowed us to truly be guys without distractions. Late nights of scarfing, getting into mischief, spending time with kids during the day, teaching them memory verses, shooting etc. Trip camping was another great opportunity. Sleeping in the snow, learning how to snow shoe, canoe trips, kayaking, building friendships with guys that extended outside the program. I found that guys are going to be more real when girls aren’t a distraction. When they are around you have to be reserved … you can't just go to the bathroom wherever…
Dave: Why have you decided to stay involved all these years?
Brian: It was a great point in my life. One of the things I learned was servant leadership. So being able to pass that along and disciple the next generation is important to me. There were 7 years where I wasn’t involved but after I got my first real job I got involved in a stockade in Pennsylvania. Then my son came along, and this is common for guys in CSB, they want their sons to have the same experience they did so they get involved for their kid’s sake.

Dave: Why did you choose to take on the significant additional roll as a CSB board member?
Brian: Ministry is always something I have been involved in and there are some areas where my experience will be useful. Many Christian schools require being involved in ministry as a part of their degree and we are missing a great opportunity for college age guys to help out in our ministry as they are getting their degrees. Also as alumni there are a lot of people who would like to get back involved but we need to ask the question. So I am hoping to help provide direction in those key areas.

Dave: What are your thoughts on the future of CSB?
Brian: It is a vital ministry for connecting men and the next generation of men. It’s becoming a lost art in our society as our culture becomes more pluralistic and less connected to family and inter-generational connections. I think it is as relevant today as it was in 1937. One of the exciting things is that I work with a lot of sophomore programs because this is a pivotal time where many college students determine who they are, what they believe, and how their lives are going to be relevant ... and I find it interesting that a college sophomore started CSB! I think the opportunity is still there.
I'm guessing that there are more people involved in ministry today because of CSB’s impact on their lives than we realize and we need to seek them out.

Dave: What do you think people need to know about our ministry?
Brian: What's at the heart of the ministry is that relationship between men and the next generation in a wholesome setting. Our society is missing out in this vital area. Many young men and boys don't have great role models. CSB is an answer for how we change a generation. We have to start with the children and I think, though this is a personal bias, ministry past high school becomes exceptionally harder so if you want to change society you have to start with children.

1 comment:

  1. I looked up to Brian and his father Dick when I was in Brigade many years ago. I'm glad that Brian is helping to set the course for this next generation of young men. Thanks for sharing this interview.