Grace + Dave

Hi, I’m David Aiello.

Whiting, IN

Phone Number

(703) 568-7853


[email protected]


HoneyRock Camp
Graduate Assistantship


Wheaton College
B.A. Psychology
M.A. Outdoor Adventure Leadership

Church Affiliation


Years In Ministry

5 years




Leadership Development, Discipleship, Recruiting, Curriculum Development and Execution

Tools & Software

Microsoft Office Suite


Wife: Grace - Married 1 year

Top 3 Strengths


Social/People Skills0%


Student Pastor Questionnaire Responses
Personal Info
Please share briefly how you became a Christian.
I honestly do not remember a time when I did not believe in Jesus and have some desire to follow him. I specifically want to highlight three impactful moments that pushed me to grow in my faith. The first moment was watching my mom trust God in the midst of her battle with cancer, I saw her faith sustain her and fill her up when she was at her lowest. Then seeing how she has used her experience to come alongside others, this experience was when I first took my faith seriously as a child. The second moment was having a prayer explicitly answered for the first time, when I learned that my younger brother had committed his life to Christ. This specific experience has pushed me to pray for others more, especially friends and family who do not know Christ. The final moment occurred my Junior year of college, I was about to take on the responsibility of discipling nine 17-year old boys at camp. I had never done anything like this before and lay awake that night praying for God to sustain me in this ministry and to show up for my guys. I had a realization that I had never fully died to myself before in my life. I had always believed the right things, but never felt the immediate need for a real and vibrant relationship with Christ before. I have referred to this experience as going from swimming in the shallows to diving off a diving board into faith and trust in Christ in a way I had never done before. These moments represent some of the spiritually significant events in my faith, but my walk with Christ is built upon daily submission and a continuous journey to grow towards Him.
How would you describe yourself?
  • Fun
  • Intense
  • Motivational
  • Flexible
  • Loving
Personality Type
  • Myers Briggs – ENFP
  • Enneagram – 8w7
  • StrengthFinder – taken twice and received these results: 2017: 1. Activator 2. Achiever 3. Woo 4. competition 5. Adaptability 2021: 1. Includer 2. Woo 3. Activator 4. Arranger 5. Belief
Tell me about some people (i.e. authors, mentors, and ministry leaders) that have had a big impact on you.
My mentor/Boss in Grad school Ashley Kiley! Ashley has been my mentor for the past four years and was my supervisor in my graduate assistantship for two years, Throughout that time she pushed me to grow in my faith, character, and in the work place. She has been heavily influential in my passion for coaching/developing others and student ministry.
C.S. Lewis as significantly shaped my faith as well, specifically his book the great divorce deeply influenced how I see sin and the process of sharing truth with others.
Rob Ribbe, the director of HoneyRock: Center for Leadership Development was a professor of mine in grad school and deeply impacted how I see ministry, the intentionality it takes to continue to grow into a more Godly person, and the importance of leading through service.
My best friend Caleb Odell has been a tremendous influence on my life. He spent the first 2 years of our friendship constantly reminding me of Gospel Truth while I was working through personal issues like a break up and learning to fully articulate what I believe. We still meet regularly and share how God is working in us, how our marriages are going, sharing ministry stories and discussing out hopes and dreams for our beloved Chicago sports teams. He is currently finishing up his Masters in Divinity.
How do you plan to engage and inform parents or guardians about your ministry objectives and progress?
I will start off by introducing myself to parents at a planned dinner where I am able to share the vision I have for the years programing and what the youth group will be like. Following this meeting I will keep parents updated through weekly emails that included everything from highlights of recent events to the schedule for the next few weeks. with volunteers I will create a semester ministry calendar and keep them updated through group messages and reminder texts.
Tell me about a time when you developed a new team of volunteers into a strong working group. What did you do?
After my summer staff arrived at camp I quickly realized that they did not understand the why behind some of the different aspects of my plan for camp and that the initial way I had run through it with them did not make sense. So, I decided that I should run them through the schedule in a condensed run through all around camp, hoping they would better understand what they were doing and use their experience to cast the vision for the program as a whole. Through this experience I learned that even with a simple vision it can be helpful for volunteers/ staff to fully understand what they will be doing before they can understand the why behind it. This isn’t always true, but I found it worked well with that group.
How would you alleviate the confusion when you are communicating with volunteers and it becomes apparent that they don’t understand what you’re saying or vice versa?
I love feedback and hope to create a culture in the volunteer community that allows everyone to ask questions or push back on something when they are confused about what is being communicated. That being said, I would regularly check in with volunteers to make sure that we are on the same page especially after having given them new information. With most groups I have worked with I have found there will naturally be a volunteer with more influences over the others. I have found that making sure that volunteer with influence understands what is communicated allows me to rely on them to help me effectively check in and make sure everyone understands what’s going on.
Spiritual Growth
Once you lead a student/child to Christ, how do you communicate their decision to their parents? Once a child accepts Christ as their Savior, how do you begin discipling them?
I would begin by encouraging the student to share their decision with their parents on their own and reach out after the student has shared the news to the parent, opening myself up to connect with the parent and share the story of their decision and even the Gospel to the parents depending on where they are at.
Once a student accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior I will either begin meeting with them/a group of new believers regularly or connect them with a volunteer leader to meet with regularly. these meetings will be in a public place and focus on discussing scripture read together as well as encouraging to continue to live out their new found faith in more and more meaningful ways.
As the spiritual leader of your ministry, how are you going to help volunteers grow in their faith?
To start out I believe that just by working with students through discipleship and evangelism volunteer leaders will begin growing in their own faith by living it out. I will also set up a goal setting curriculum with volunteers that will require one of the goals to be set in the area of personal faith. Through this goal setting and monthly check-ins I will encourage them to grow in the aspect of their faith they identified the need for growth in. I also believe that any message or sermon that seeks to develop students should always be able to impact volunteers, especially as they lead discussions on the message.
Ministry Growth
What is your philosophy of ministry?
My philosophy of ministry is centered around creating environments and experiences for students to encounter the risen Christ through the Holy Spirit and Gospel centered teaching. I believe that creating the conditions for an encounter will hopefully allow the Spirit to move in the hearts of students. I have consistently seen this play out through deep and meaningful relationships with students, especially because these relationships allow for real faith development following individuals encountering Christ.
What was the most creative idea you introduced in your last ministry role? What steps did you take to implement that idea with leadership, volunteers, and families if applicable?
In the summer camp program I directed I chose to implement an adventure experience that resembled a challenge from survivor (the tv show). It was a long treasure hunt with a bunch of clues that ended with cabin groups digging up a hidden chest full of candy. I cast the vision for this idea to my leadership staff and they loved the idea, so I chose to delegate the planning and execution to them. They had to get their staff teams onboard with the game, set up the game and successfully run the game. All the updates on it I received were that the staff had caught the vision for the experience and that it was planned and prepped. When it came time to play the game we learned that my two leadership staff had not compelling communicated the vision of the game to the counselors and they half heartedly went through the experience with their campers, who complained the whole time. I learned a few things from this experience, the first is that the attitude of the volunteer/counselor/leader sets the tone for the experience students will have. Secondly, If volunteers have not caught the vision for something they will not be as invested as they need to be to execute programing well.
How would you evaluate systems and structures to see if there could be improvement?
Feedback. Feedback. Feedback. Getting quality feedback from participants, volunteers and supervisors allows me to get a fuller picture of how the program is being run effectively or ineffectively. Another way to evaluate the systems and structures being used is getting an outside review or opinion from someone who has no stake in which systems or structures are being used in the ministry.
Give an example of a successful outreach program or event that you put together.
I have never run an exclusively outreach oriented event in youth ministry or camp ministry. I have put together plenty of hangouts with students that they felt comfortable bringing their friends too, which has turned into their friends coming to know Christ. Most of these hangouts with students have been as simple as telling them to meet up for dinner and bring a friend or invite them to play pick up soccer or basketball.

That being said I have planned and executed large scale events such as reunions for campers in the school year where we served dinner to 250 people and kicked off sign-ups for the next summer.

How would you deal with a teenager in trouble?
I think it is important to first recognize the vulnerability of the teenager for sharing what is going on in their life if that is how I am finding out about their “troubles”. Going off of that I would bring their parents into the conversation and share what is going on with them and ask what they know to get a more clear picture of what is going on with their student. Then evaluate my ability to care for the student in their current state and either continue to walk with them in their struggles or connect them to professional help.
What goals have you set in the past for your ministry area. Did you accomplish them and if so, how did you accomplish them?
I love setting goals and working to achieve them, I have found it is important to set big goals such as how I want the students to grow this year or how I hope the quality of the messages/sermons increases. But, I have found that I need to set many small goals to help me achiever the big ones. At the beginning of the 20-21 school year I set the goal of seeing my students grow in their ability to talk about their faith. I then set the small goal of meeting with at least 4 students each week to catch up and dive deeper into how their relationship with Jesus is or who they are dating now. Through these weekly hangout times over lunches and dinners I got to see some of my students take steps forward in their faith.
Is there a process that you go through when choosing a platform for screening volunteers, curriculum choices?
I have not had to research a back ground screening for staff/volunteers or for a curriculum before. I would plan to reach out to past employers or ministry partners to see what they use and research that product. My personal process for screening volunteers includes meeting with them and learning what their passions in ministry and serving are. Then I will invite them to an event and evaluate how they interact with students and other volunteers. Following the event I will check with my other volunteers and get feedback on what they thought of the new volunteer, after gathering this information from observing and connecting with volunteers I will meet up with the new volunteer and let them know if they will continue working with students or direct them to another area of ministry they could get involved in the better suits them.

For curriculum research and selection I believe that the sources need to be founded on sound theology that is not seeking to take scripture out of its context. I have seen this as an issue in curriculum used in ministries I have volunteered with and have seen curriculum that assumed students were followers of Christ and focused only on how to live as a Christian. That being said any curriculum I develop or adopt will be Gospel centered.

What have you done in the past to ensure your church has a safe environment, including emergency procedures.
Creating a safe environment starts with the culture of the leadership team, if the volunteers community is not obviously a safe place students will pick up on and emulate what they see their leaders doing. Emergency procedures are extremely important to have in place, but are meaningless unless staff and volunteers understand them and have practiced how to respond in a given scenario. Some examples of policies I have had in place in past ministries are: never being alone in a private place one on one with a student, on outings having set meeting locations incase of emergency, keeping travel groups together and doing head counts before heading out anywhere, making sure volunteers understand how to respond to a student in crisis and when to report something to a full time staff member if it is necessary. Lastly I have always put into practice requirements that students do not have access to their cell phones on trips, this keeps them from planning to sneak out, or sharing information with people they met about themselves.
How would you describe the ideal relationship between senior/lead pastor and student pastor?
My ideal relationship with the lead pastor would be a collaborative mentor/coach/friend. I want to work for someone I can sound ideas off of for ministry planning, but also come to in a time of personal need or with questions about anything. I have seriously benefitted from bi-weekly check in meetings in the past and would love to have that in place in this role.


Grant Armstrong || (608) 577-7241 || [email protected]
Jim Gruenwald || (414) 614-3340 || [email protected]
Ashley Kiley || (949) 923-0481 || [email protected]
Emily Tumilty  || 918-638-3049 || [email protected]

Favorite Bible Story

Paul’s Conversion

Favorite Scripture

Philippians 1:21