Dejan Stojkovic Moves To Serve In South Pacific Division

"Don't just be fans of Jesus, but be committed followers."

News January 25, 2024

21 January 2024| St. Albans [David Neal & Vanesa Pizzuto]

In a move to serve as Youth Director for the Greater Sydney Conference (South Pacific Division), Trans-European Division (TED) Youth director Dejan Stojkovic left England for Sydney, Australia on 5 January.

Elected in May 2021 to serve as TED Youth director, Stojkovic brought with him a legacy of youth ministry experience from serving in the British Union Conference as youth pastor at Stanborough Park Church, Teens and Student Ministries director at the South England Conference (2012), and British Union Conference Youth (BUC) director (2017). He began his ministry supporting a church revitalisation project in Cornwall, UK.

With an agility to communicate and connect across age ranges from young adults to Pathfinders and Adventurers, Stojkovic’s presence in a room – or in a field – always makes a difference.

European Pastors' Conference 2012 (EPC), Rogaska. Presentation of the Prodigal Son. Dejan Stojkovic, Geert Tap and Sam Neves.
At the 2012 European Pastors’ Conference, a younger Dejan Stojkovic (left) is joined by Geert Tap (centre) and Sam Neves (right) in a contemporary dramatisation of the story of the Prodigal Son.

His tenure and ministry as BUC Youth director could have easily ground to a halt in the Spring of 2020 with the arrival of the Covid 19 pandemic. However, Stojkovic rose to the challenge. He saw an opportunity – thought outside the box, and through an act of genius combined with what must have been a Holy Spirit prompting, adapted his ministry to serve Pathfinders and Adventurers experiencing ‘Lockdown’. One of the most memorable ministry sights of Lockdown was the Sabbath afternoon BUC Pathfinder Zoom meeting, hosted by Stojkovic with literally hundreds of children and teens from all over the BUC, TED, and around the world participating.  The immeasurable blessing this ministry created for Adventist children during ‘Lockdown’ cannot be underestimated nor forgotten. Without question, his creative media skill set contributed to the success of turning a crisis into an opportunity.

Dejan baptising a pathfinder at the TED Camporee 2023, Hungary
One of the key moments during the TED Camporee in July 2023, held in Hungary, was the baptism of 16 pathfinders.

Daniel Duda – People have been blessed, lives have been changed. 

“I want to thank Dejan for his contribution to Youth and Pathfinder Ministries over the last two and half years, overseeing three key TED programmes: Youth Congress, Camporee, and in collaboration with Newbold College, the successful One Year in Mission programme. These major programmes involved incredible logistics and people skills, which Dejan handled with excellence. People have been blessed, lives have been changed, decisions for Christ made. I thank him for the friendships he made with hundreds of young adults, teens, Pathfinders and Adventures across the TED field and beyond. He encouraged young people in various ways on their walk of faith and promoted a pastoral calling in many young people. We wish him and his family well in his new ministry challenges in Australia.”

Dejan & Deana Stojkovic with their family (from left) Zara, Ana & Stefan.

One Year in Mission and Service (OYIMS)

Posted to serve at the Limasol Centre of Influence (Cyprus Mission) for their One Year In Mission experience, Mirella Juhasz, Jade Thompson, Joanna Shepley are surrounded by Cyprus Mission leaders, members and friends. Back row far right, Danilo Puškaš NCHE Chaplain and Campus Ministries co-ordinator.

In collaboration with Newbold College of Higher Education (NCHE), TED Youth Ministries created a plan to help Adventist young adults experience the joy of experiencing a year of mission.

The course starts on campus before students embark on a life-enriching mission trip with ADRA Europe, the Adventist Volunteer Service or serving in part of the TED territory where the church needs support. In a message on behalf NCHE, Steve Currow (Principal) pays tribute not just for Stojkovic’s OYIMS collaboration, but contribution to student life.

“As an integral part of the close-knit community at Newbold College of Higher Education, Dejan infused warmth and energy into various aspects of college life. Beyond his active involvement in the revitalised One Year in Mission and Service programme and his successful organisation of a recent Volleyball tournament on campus, Dejan also lent his voice to the weekly student-led worship, fondly known as ‘Experience’, a heartwarming initiative he had personally established during his own student days at Newbold.

His social media channels consistently radiated with snapshots of Newbold’s vibrant activities and the college’s engagement in TED events, showcasing the spirit of unity and camaraderie. As a passionate recruiter for pastoral ministry, Dejan warmly encouraged numerous individuals to embrace their calling and become part of the Newbold community.

Dejan’s departure is felt deeply, leaving behind a void filled with memories of his infectious enthusiasm, laughter, and unwavering spiritual commitment. As he and his family embark on their journey to lead Youth Ministry in Sydney, Australia, we extend our warmest wishes for God’s abundant blessings to accompany them. Newbold will always cherish the imprint of Dejan’s positive influence and wish him and his family much joy and success in this new chapter of their lives.”

Thank You, Dejan!

From Congress to Camporee to the small retreat in a remote place, if Stojkovic had a message for TED youth – it was the invitation “not just to be fans of Jesus but committed followers”. It was a message he shared with passion, compassion and love. His ministry style was a ‘come along side you’, a ‘let’s work this through’ and ‘learn together’ ministry type with youth and their leaders. While a critical leadership value is to build teams, in youth ministry it is more crucial than ever because of the example it gives to those watching.

In her role as Personal Assistant for TED Youth Ministries, Judy Plaatjes-McKie, with her wealth of organisational support, expresses her ‘absolute pleasure’ at working alongside Stojkovic. In the following video, not only does she express her thanks, but she is joined by a few others from the 2023 Camporee who would also like to say ‘Thank you Dejan’. (Those saying thanks from Camporee also say thank you to Sean Mena of the Hungarian Union, who co-organised the event).

Thank You, Deana!

Deana Stojkovic began working at the TED in 2010, and has gone on to be one of the longest-serving TED Personal Assistants. According to Executive Secretary, Robert Csizmadia, Deana’s service to TED was like “a vibrant thread, weaving kindness, love, with an unwavering commitment to deliver excellent service to our unions.”  The breadth of her work covered several departments over her 14 years of service, in Family and Children’s Ministries, Communication and Media, and for the last few years, Adventist Mission. Csizmadia continued, “We are very thankful to her for all the positive and professional contributions she made throughout her time at TED.”

Interim Youth Ministries Director

At the January meeting of the TED Administrative Committee it was voted to appoint Vanesa Pizzuto to serve as interim Youth Ministries Director, in addition to current responsibilities and until a new director is elected.

As a new era of ministry opens for Dejan and Deana Stojkovic, they leave with fondest wishes from us all, with a prayer for their lives to guide Sydney youth and children to ‘not just be fans of Jesus, but committed followers.’

At the TED Pathfinder Camporee, Sopron, Hungary. Pastor Dejan Stojkovic commuting.
‘Hands free’ rules – not required on site at the 2023 TED Pathfinder Camporee, as Dejan Stojkovic simultaneously commutes and vlogs around the campus. Health warning – not to be repeated on the streets of Sydney!

[Photos: Tor Tjeransen and Jim Botha, Adventist Media Exchange, CC BY 4.0 //, Stojkovic family. Video: David Neal, Marcel Ghioalda, and Rodrigo Chimello]

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