Most Momentum Youth Conference attendees know Dave Nicodemus as half of the beloved Mark & Dave Show, the conference’s pre-session entertainment for the past 13 years. This year, in addition to emceeing, Dave was able to welcome the conference to his home church in Columbus, Ohio, where he has served as pastor of student ministries for more than a decade.
Grace Polaris Church was the third stop for Momentum on the Road. Almost 300 students and youth workers from 20 churches attended, 41 of those from Dave’s own youth group. You can see a highlight video from this location here.
“When the opportunity to host a Momentum on the Road conference came, I was thrilled to bring the conference here,” Dave said. “I wanted my church to see first-hand the impact it can have in the lives of students. It was a joy to see others get to experience what I’ve always known!”
Dave first attended Momentum, then known as Brethren National Youth Conference (BNYC), as a teenager in 1993. That year the conference was held at Western Carolina University in Cullowheee, N.C., with the theme “Faithful…Whatever it Takes.”
Although his involvement has changed over the years, Dave has held onto that theme of faithfulness as he attended the next 27 conferences as a student, youth leader, youth pastor, and emcee. In addition to his role on stage, Dave has taught Power Tracks and served behind the scenes with various creative elements and consultation. “It’s not always easy to contribute to Momentum while leading my own group as a youth pastor, but it’s always worth it,” Dave said. “The way that so many staff and volunteers come together each year to pull this event off in such an excellent way is part of what makes it unique. So many people get to have influence and ownership. I’ve been privileged to have the opportunity to contribute in a variety of ways and will continue to do so as long as I can be effective.”
Dave has impacted many lives through his ministry. Over the last 15 years Grace Polaris Church has sent 75 students and leaders on Momentum Travel Teams (formerly known as Operation Barnabas), and Dave played a big part in encouraging, equipping, and mentoring those who went. One such student, Alex, who is now pursuing a degree in Biblical Studies at Grace College, said, “Dave is a great youth pastor, an amazing mentor, and a dear friend. He has really pushed me to grow in my faith by the way he lives and serves, and that’s why I am so excited every year to help and serve at places like Momentum Youth Conference!”
“Dave has been a consistent source of encouragement and wisdom in my life for so many years now,” said Alec, another former student, Travel Teams alumnus, and Momentum volunteer. “He is a great role model and excellent example in ministering to the younger generations.”
Before coming on staff at Grace Polaris Church, he was a pastor at Gateway Church, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Parkesburg, Pa. Dave has also led various forms of Momentum Travel Teams seven times, one of those times internationally and one in inner city Philadelphia. His wife of 17 years, Carly, has served alongside him in both youth ministry at their local church and helped lead Travel Teams.
As Dave reflected on his years at youth conference, he said: “As a young kid, I couldn’t wait to get my chance to go to Youth Conference after seeing my older siblings go and come back changed. When my turn came, the opportunity for life change was clear—and not just in the obvious ways. The relationships I developed with friends and leaders from all over the country and our Fellowship of churches made a lasting impact in the trajectory of my life in pursuing and remaining in full-time ministry.”
Follow along with photos from all four locations here.