In honor of Father’s Day, we asked three Destiny Worship Center pastors to share their experience with ministry and their father. They all happen to be related.

Steve Vaggalis, the lead pastor at Destiny Worship Center, has two sons who have followed in his ministry footsteps at the multi-campus church. Steven Vaggalis is the pastor of the Fort Walton Beach Campus, and Victor Vaggalis is the regional student pastor.

Get to know them in these Q&As.

 

MEET STEVE

How did you first get into ministry?

In 1987, my wife, Jackie, (then girlfriend) “strongly suggested” I ask her pastor to do an internship at her church as my final semester. It was a prerequisite for graduating Bible college. She worked in the church's accounting office. Soon after, we got engaged during the internship. My pastor — not wanting to lose his lead accountant — offered me a job as his personal assistant to keep us both on staff. Looking back, he hired me out of necessity. It wasn’t a glamorous position, but it got my foot in the door. Some amazing church leaders told Jackie and I that when they were both younger than 10, they could “see and sense” God had His hand on their lives for ministry. We felt the same. They encouraged us to cultivate it and protect it but not to force it. So, we heeded their advice.

How do you feel about your sons doing ministry?

Many dads secretly long to see their kids possibly follow in their footsteps. I purposely never pushed my sons toward ministry. I didn’t want them to grow up despising ministry because of all the things you hear about how church can be messy. As long as my sons love God and live for God, I am satisfied. Every career is sacred, whether it’s marketplace or ministry. The fact that they are in ministry and working alongside us is a joy I daily give thanks for.

How is your ministry style different from your sons' style?

Our styles are somewhat similar and different at the same time. My sons have their dad’s Greek gene, so they do things with passion. I am twice their age, and our styles can be somewhat different. I’m sure I’m not as “cool” or “edgy” as they think I should be. I don’t preach with sneakers on or use all the next generation phrases. But our styles complement each other. Their style of leadership stretches my thinking and approach to leadership. I watch as they lead their teams in a more collaborative way. I watch how they challenge old models in a respectful way. It reminds me of the illustration given by Jesus of how the old wine and new wine were both sitting on the same shelf. I believe they honor the older generation that provides wisdom and experience and, at the same time, we make room for something new and fresh that’s always needed to be relevant.

What is your favorite memory with your sons?

My favorite memories have to be when I coached my sons through their Little League years. Their mom would be the team’s scorekeeper in the stands, and we would, as a family, practice and compete to win. We didn’t want “token trophies.” We wanted to win and, to be honest, still do.

What advice would you give to other fathers?

My advice to dads would be, be a father first and a friend second. Lead as a father. Lead spiritually, decisively and by example. Someone will lead your children; it should be you. Also, be a friend. It is possible to be both. Don’t just provide for them. Love them, spend time with them and laugh with them. Being a father is a gift. Being a friend is a choice.

What are your Father’s Day plans?

We are going boating this Father’s Day, after church of course.

 

MEET STEVEN, 26, AND VICTOR, 24

How did you first get into ministry?

Steven: We’ve always been in ministry. It’s who we are. Not just what we do. We love the local church. If I had to pinpoint the moment I first stepped into ministry; it was with our Young Adults Small Group. We went to a nursing home and provided services for the elderly. My first sermon was in a cafeteria. I still remember their joy that we took the time to love them. I’ll never forget it.

Victor: I’ve always grown up in church and always loved being there. My first “job” at the church was facilities. It’s actually where both Steven and I started out. I think that was a great place for us to begin because there is an importance in taking care of the house of God. From there, I became the PE coach at our school, Gateway Academy, then a kids pastor assistant, student pastor and now the regional pastor over student ministries. I’ve always had a heart for the next generation, and people around me have always told me how good I am with young people, which always confirmed the gifting God deposited inside of me.

 

What is it like following in your father’s footsteps?

Steven: Both easy and hard at the same time. Hard because people will put expectations on you, and there is a pressure and weight you feel following in the footsteps of such an incredible leader whom God has used. At the same time, it’s easy. I’ve been so blessed to walk into what others have spent their life building. I am privileged to be able to begin with the covering and the blessings my father's walk with God has provided.

Victor: I believe it is a privilege to be able to follow in his footsteps. Dad stepped out in great faith and trusted in God when he planted this church. I remember growing up and seeing how much time he spent loving people, counseling and growing the church. He’s always sacrificed himself for Destiny and its congregation. One time he even missed a cruise we took as a church to secure the “skating rink” (our first building). When I was younger, I was sad he missed this, but as I’m older and I look back on it, I see the sacrifice he made. Now I get to fulfill God’s calling for my life because of his faithfulness and how he walked in obedience to God and his pastor.

 

What do you think keeps your relationship with your father strong?

Steven: We both are intentional to spend time together and talk to each other. We don’t allow distance or differences to come between us. I honor him and the call of God on his life, and he supports me in what God is doing in my life.

Victor: I think it’s something we’re intentional about. Anytime a family is working in the same environment, there can be tension. We all have to strive to remember we are all on the same team, accomplishing one goal — “reaching people, building lives.” I think we are also intentional to spend time together outside of the church — taking family vacations, enjoying our beautiful city in which we live or taking a two-day getaway to play golf.

 

What is your favorite memory with your father?

Steven: Dad used to coach us in Little League Baseball. Definitely my best memory. He took the time to still be our dad even though he had so much going on.

Victor: I have a lot of favorite memories, but one of the coolest and most recent was all of us preaching at a campus for the first time on the same weekend. Dad was at the Destin Campus, Steven was in Fort Walton Beach and I was in Freeport for my first Sunday preaching on the weekend. I think us all being able to minister together on the same weekend preaching the Gospel across our region was awesome.

 

How is your ministry style different from your father’s?

Steven: God has gifted us where we both complement each other’s gifting. I would say our passion is the same, but our approach might differ due to our seasons of life. Either way, we are passionate about reaching the lost and making disciples. I am blessed to have Pastor as my leader and my father.

Victor: Everyone leads differently. My dad is a great visionary and strategic thinker. I believe I have the best parts of both my dad and mom — Dad’s ability to dream and cast vision, and the systems and structures I get from my mom. I enjoy being in the details and analyzing different ministries and seeing how I can streamline them and make them as efficient as possible.

 

What are your Father’s Day plans?

Steven: Renting a pontoon boat and relaxing with the family. Work on our tan!

Victor: Either grilling out or going out on a boat as a family. Looking forward to hanging that Sunday!