Michael & MelIssa Hinton

Serving in Romania

Ministering in their first term of service


Navigating culture and ministering effectively despite challenges caused by the pandemic and related restrictions.


Establishing and promoting the Center for Youth Ministry to help meet the needs of current leaders, pastors, and trainers nation-wide while recruiting the next generation to help equip them for fruitful youth ministry.

Michael grew up in Knoxville, TN, graduating from East Tennessee State University where he met Melissa, and pursued a degree in Biblical Counseling from Southern Seminary. He served as a youth pastor in Tennessee for almost 8 years. During that time he lead teams of youth and adults to serve with YMI in Ukraine and Romania. Impressed by the model of training youth workers so young people can hear the gospel and be cared for and ministered to by trained, equipped leaders, Michael began to sense the Lord’s leading to serve with YMI. The Lord provided the opportunity, and they were appointed in May 2015.

Melissa is a registered nurse, but she is now enjoying being a home school mom and language learner. Both Michael and Melissa are passionate about youth ministry because the Lord used their teen years and youth ministries to establish and deepen their faith in Him. They have 3 children. Carder is 13 and enjoys video games, following his favorite YouTubers, and reading. Holland is 11 and loves to be active, draw, and color. Carson is 8 years old, quick-witted, and enjoys playing with toys and video games.

As a family the Hintons enjoy their new home and being able to see all the amazing places in Romania -mountains, seaside, castles, villages, and ruins. At the same time the do miss their family, friends and church in the States – and also Chick-fil-a!

Living and working in Eastern Europe is certainly interesting. Memories of communist regimes and life during those times are still very present in the minds of adults in Romania, while the younger population is heavily influenced by western culture. In the city of Bucharest, the youth culture is not very different from the youth culture in the US. This is reflected in the church world as well. The young people need to hear the gospel, and the church needs to be equipped to disciple them.

Ministry goals include helping teach youth ministry courses, encouraging and coaching local youth pastors, and networking to promote youth ministry training.

Current Assignment

The Hintons are currently in the U.S. for a home ministry assignment. Please pray that this time will be fruitful, focused, and refreshing for everyone in the family.

We also ask for prayers for new relationships, and growth of established ones, along with open doors for growth and expansion opportunities upon our return to Romania.

Read some of our thoughts on how we have been greatly encouraged during our time in the U.S.


Ministry Challenges

Youth ministry in Europe faces many of the same challenges seen in the US. The influence of media and the rapid transformation and secularization of culture are evident.

On the other hand, Romanian culture is heavily influenced by the Orthodox Church. While there is a reverence to God, there also is a guilt- and works-based mentality that manifests in many different areas of life.

The culture loves children but then seems to place older children, teens, and even young adults on the bench until they are grown when it comes to the church.

We pray for the hearts of pastors and church leaders to see the important place young people have in the church. If they are not engaged now, they will not have much if any motivation to stay. They need to be discipled and equipped to grow in their faith and share it with their peers. Especially in Romania, many of the younger generation are leaving their home country for education and work opportunities elsewhere. The church may only have these younger years to reach them.

We ask you pray with  us concerning the following:



Please pray for our family as we continue to transition in our new culture. Learning a new language is definitely challenging, and we need the Lord's help and provision.
Please pray for the children to build healthy friendships with Romanian and English-speaking children.
Please pray for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter every day.