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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Meet the new President

Friday 10th December 2021

Getting to know our new Brigade President

Following his election as the 14th Brigade President, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rev Dez Johnston and find out a bit more about him.

Besides being the new Brigade President, what else do you do?

I’m the Director of Alpha Scotland, along with being the Alpha Youth Director for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It does what it says on the tin – I connect people across the region and help young people connect with God.

How did you end up where you are today?

The day I became a Christian was the single biggest change in my life.

When I was younger, I really wanted to be a DJ and ended up in a spiral of taking drugs. I ended up taking an overdose and cried out to whoever would listen; after that I never touched cocaine again. I then kept meeting Christians. I remember hiring a new employee where I was working, and she was a Christian. I asked her to take me to Church and was then invited on an Alpha Course which I loved. I gave up my job and started volunteering for the Church as a youth worker, then I kept on getting more involved to the point I ended up at Bible college.

I married the girl who took me to Church and became ordained as a Baptist minister, working in an area of deprivation a couple of days a week whilst also working for Alpha the other few. In 2018 I became the Director for Scotland for Alpha. It’s certainly been a busy last 13 years!

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your career?

In September 2021 I was the main Sunday speaker at Holy Trinity Brompton, probably one of the biggest Churches in the UK and where Alpha started. It’s ridiculous considering I’m just a man from a small village in the north of Scotland.

However, some of my most memorable experiences might not mean much to anyone else. For example, I remember just sitting talking to a group of young people in a field in the Falklands and one of them became a Christian after speaking to them for about an hour and a half. Sometimes it’s those smaller moments that actually matter more in life.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life?

My father-in-law. He is just a genuine humble man of God. He has known me since the start of my journey and loves me for me. He just has a relationship with Jesus that I want to have.

What do you think you can bring to The Boys’ Brigade?

Chaos! A different perspective to a lot of things and I really hope that I bring vision and opportunity for other people. I would love to see more young people in leadership roles.

How would you describe what The Boys’ Brigade offers young people?

We offer a space for young people to find out who they truly are in loads of different ways. It does it better than anywhere else.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I really hope I’m doing what I do now. I love what I do and I want to have more impact. I didn’t even think I’d get to where I am or what I’m doing today.

Will you be getting a BB tattoo and can we video it?

Absolutely! My tattoo artist is up in Keith in the north of Scotland so definitely.

What three tips would you give to our young people?

  1. Follow your passion, whatever that is… chase it.
  2. Be confident in yourself.
  3. Always use your manners.

Fact Profile

1st December 1982

Current residence:
Kirkintilloch (north of Glasgow)

Meal of choice:
Kom Po beef with fried rice

Favourite place:
Loch Morlich in the Highlands

Favourite Hymn/Worship song:
Reckless Love or Highlands

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