Youth News for June 2018

School is out, summer is here, our graduates are heading over the horizon, and the pace of life is picking up (at least in youth ministry!).  VBS, Camp Hawkins, Mission Fuge, and many other activities are on their way.  So, it is with great relief that we welcome our summer intern for this summer!  I’m already excited by her love for the Lord, the ministry, and the work of the Kingdom!  I think you’ll enjoy having her around too!  So, without further ado, I’ll let her introduce herself:

I am so excited to be here this summer! My name is Jill Craig, and I will be the youth intern here for the summer! I am from Effingham County, but this past year I have been in Athens at the University of Georgia where I am majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Spanish and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. At UGA I am a part of the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) where I serve as the Local Missions Coordinator. It was through the BCM, specifically a program called Send Me Now, that brought me here.

At the beginning of last school year, God constantly brought me back to the verse Acts 1:8 which says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Every time I spoke with God, I felt Him calling me to proclaim His name. At first, I wanted to go on an overseas mission trip to “be a missionary.” It didn’t take too long before God was telling me that I could and needed to be a missionary right where I was. It was like he was telling me, “I don’t only say ‘to the ends of the earth’ in that verse. I start with Jerusalem, the disciples’ local city.” This really made me take a step back because I didn’t know how to reach out to the community around me.

As I prayed and was guided by God, he provided me the position on the leadership team of the BCM as Local Missions Coordinator where my focus is to reach out to “my Jerusalem” and help others do the same. He also allowed me to be able to serve in a youth ministry in a church in Athens. From there, God allowed me to apply and be accepted into the Send Me Now program; this program sends students anywhere from Georgia to Asia and anywhere in between. I was thrilled to find out that I would be able to come serve this church over the summer. With Georgia representing Samaria/Judea, I cannot wait to be God’s witness here.

Lastly, this coming Thanksgiving break, I will be spending ten days in Spain and Morocco, my ends of the earth. I have the Bible App on my phone which sends out a verse of the day; the day I left my hometown to drive up here, out of all 31,102 verses in the Bible, the verse of the day was Acts 1:8. I believe God has placed me here and is working things together to show His glory. I am extremely thankful to be able to work with everyone here over the summer. Thank you for being my Samaria and Judea, and I cannot wait to see how God is going to move and show himself this summer!

So, now that you’ve met Jill, it’s time to introduce yourself to her, too!  Invite her out for a meal, stop by the office, say hello, make this place home for her this summer!  I think you’ll be glad you did!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

Important Youth Dates:

Camp Hawkins - June 12-17

Middle School VBS - June 18-22

MFuge Camp - July 9-14

Youth News for May 2018

It’s incredibly hard to believe that it’s finally here.  I have been anticipating the month of May, 2018 for two and a half years now, though I’m sure that pales in comparison to the 18 or so years that many of our parents have been anticipating it.  It is with great excitement, and great sorrow, that we send off over a dozen of our seniors, many of them forming the backbone of our youth ministry, now on to make an impact on the world they are stepping out into.  I look forward with eager expectation to what God will accomplish through them!

As they step out into a new season of life, we step out into a new season of ministry here at FBC.  As many of our leaders are heading out to make an impact on the larger world, we are soon to receive many new faces beginning their time with our youth ministry.  Not only so, but we are launching a brand new space for us to use to the glory of God among our youth.  It’s going to be an exciting time! 

Central to launching this new season is going to be the centrality of the gospel for our students.  They need to hear and know the power of the gospel to give them a firm foundation for life.  They need the message of Christ poured into their hearts in order to give them the proper lens through which to see all of life.  As we seek to do this with our youth, I would encourage you to live the gospel out in front of them, especially taking on the role of Christ in loving the least of these into the kingdom.  You never know the impact you are able to have, in the big decisions, but also in those small moments of relationship, by just checking in, showing that you care.  When you get the chance, get to know one of our students, show them that they are known and cared about, and help them to see the love of Jesus for them reflected in the love of our church for them! 

We are taking huge steps in that direction!  Let’s continue to move forward.  Ministry is about relationships at the core.  It’s about our relationships with each other, as we reflect the work of God to repair our relationships with Him.  Let’s see how we can build those relationships with the youth of FBC Jesup, and beyond that, the youth of Jesup, GA.  In doing so, we can show Christ to them, and revitalize the ministry of this church!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Zach

What’s Happening:

Graduation Sunday - May 20

Camp Hawkins - June 12-17

Middle School VBS - June 18-22

MFuge Camp - July 9-14

Youth News for April 2018

It’s the beginning of a new world.  The King has come to His own, He has been rejected, tossed aside like so much garbage.  His miracles were labeled blasphemy.  His love labeled sin.  He has been hung between the thieves.  Jesus, the blasphemer, the traitor to the throne of Caesar, King of the Jews, has been crucified.  And then, just when all had settled down, His followers cowering in a locked room, His message shown to be powerless, the unbelievable happened.  On the third day, the garbage was proved priceless treasure.  On the third day, the blasphemer was proved Truth itself.  On the third day, the traitor to the throne was proved the only rightful King.  On the third day, death proved powerless, and Jesus, Jesus was alive!

And so now, He is taking the world once made and then unmade and He is remaking it.  And right now, during the age of the church, we are the instruments of His recreation project, calling others from death to life, joining in the resurrection and living eternal life in the here and now.  We are in the presence of the King, and His Spirit dwells within us!  We have been transformed, and we are being used to transform our world!

I am reminded of the transformation we have seen in the physical reality of our church.  Over the past months you have been at work to recreate a space once lifeless and dull into a haven for the youth of Jesup.  We have seen a stewardship of resources that has transformed our ministry and will help to kick start a movement of mission in our community among our young people.  It has been incredible to see that transformation, and I am incredibly excited to see the impact it will have! 

But this is only the beginning of the work.  We have poured our resources into the youth area, now we must pour our time and energy into our youth!  As we seek to faithfully steward the new space we have been given, key to our ministry will be filling that space with opportunities for our students to build strong relationships that will gird them up in their faith and a deep conviction of the love of God and the need for the Truth.  That resurrection Sunday will echo through our ministry when we preach the life of Christ and the reign of Christ through the ministry of our members to our youth!  I can’t wait to build that community more deeply into the fabric of our youth ministry here!

And so, let me ask you, how can you pour into our students?  How can you come along side them and preach the gospel into their lives?  How can you facilitate growth and change in the hearts and lives of our young people?  Give it some thought, give it some prayer, and then give me a call!  I would love to put you to work!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Zach

 

What’s Happening:

Graduation Sunday - May 20

Camp Hawkins - June 12-17

Middle School VBS - June 18-22

MFuge Camp - July 9-14

Youth News for March 2018

One of the core goals we have as a youth ministry here at FBC is to take our students deep into their faith. In a world that is constantly changing, bringing new challenges day in and day out for the ministry of the church, it is absolutely critical that we build a solid foundation for our students. If we can do this effectively, we will build a generation of disciples who can engage our world with the gospel and not fall to the undercurrents of our culture. They will know how to face questions of truth, purpose, and meaning from the core convictions of the gospel, and have a compelling answer for a world longing for something deeper and truer.

That's the goal. But how do we get there? How do we create a depth in our students that can face up to these challenges? Let me suggest two essential components: faithful, biblical teaching, and faithful, authentic community. Think about it for a moment. How do we face the intellectual and theoretical assaults on Christian values and attitudes? It doesn't happen if we simply try to speak values and morals louder into their lives. It only happens when we faithfully and convincingly point to the bedrock of those values, the unshakeable Truths of reality, and build from there. This doesn't happen overnight. This can only happen in a lifestyle of discipleship.

But what happens when our students are faced with the emotional and relational attacks of the enemy? How will they stand up under the assaults of a culture that prioritizes perfection and pleasure, self-image, and self-satisfaction? The only answer is in an identity rooted deeply in the reality that they are known, loved, and cared for by real people, in real ways. In caring for our students this way we image forth Christ's care of His children, and we point them to the great Shepherd of our souls.

We aim to plant trees deeply rooted, that they may grow tall and wide in our world. That's why we call our ministry the Rooted Youth Ministry of FBC. It's also why this month we will be investing in our students through DiscipleNow Weekend, joining with other churches to set aside time for our students to dive deeply into the Word surrounded by a community of faith that loves them. This is a super condensed snapshot of the environment we are attempting to create for our students, where they are loved, discipled, cared for, where adults share the vulnerability of opening their homes and pouring into them and where youth are connected with one another to link arms and march forward with the mission of Christ.

This is where our youth ministry is headed. But these core convictions apply not only to youth, but to each of us. We each need deep transformational truth. We each need real communities of believers, opening our lives and homes to one another, sharing our struggles and coming along side one another to bolster our faith and fight the onslaught of the enemy. Will you pray for us? Will you pray for this church? Will you join in, not just settling for the search for depth in our students, but aiming for that same depth in yourself? Let's do this, together!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Zach

What's Happening:
Disciple Now - March 23-25
MFuge Camp - July 9-14

Youth News for Feb 2018

Have you lost track of your New Year's resolution yet? Did you even have one? It seems like more and more the concept of the New Year's resolution is going out of style. Perhaps its the realism setting in that we are in fact, terrible at keeping them. Or maybe it's just a change in our culture from a focus on goal setting to one of lifestyle changes.

This past week I had the opportunity to speak at WCHS to their JumpStart morning devotional crowd. We gathered at 7:30 in the auditorium and I asked them much the same question. "How many of you made a New Year's resolution?" Two hands went up. It was about what I expected. The challenge I made to them that morning was the challenge of a resolution or a lifestyle change or whatever you want to call it, that I think might just counter balance the kinds of resolutions we are in the habit of giving up. Instead of a burden to load onto ourselves and instead of a goal to achieve, I brought before them and now before you a different kind of challenge.

What if this year, instead of taking on a burden to lift, we took on a strategy to make life more pleasant, more satisfying, more fulfilling? What if we took on an extremely Biblical strategy, one that is reflected throughout the writings ofth&Psalms?

Psalm 37:4 wraps up what a great deal of the Psalms encourage us to do in a simple but profound formula: "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Now, consider with me, if our delight is in the Lord, where will our desires be?

George Mueller has a famous quote that I think illuminates this idea more brilliantly than I ever could:

I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished…I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.

So,what do you think? Are you ready for life to be more pleasant, more satisfying, more fulfilling? Let us delight in the Lord. Let us have our souls happy in Him.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Zach

Youth News for Jan 2018

How does the church reach the masses for the glory of God in our current cultural climate?  According to Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of the recent book Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, the key is authentic relationships.  We know the gospel, we have been trained in its story and its importance, we believe it and live by it, the next step to move into a life of evangelism is not a 10 step evangelism explosion using 3 circles and an elevator pitch.  We need to step away from an evangelism approach that places performance over personality, lists over love, and sales over sustainable relationships.  As helpful as certain evangelism tools may be, our world is craving more than a prepackaged solution to our problems.

Think about it.  We live in a world saturated by sales and advertisements.  Every time we look at our phone, turn on the tv, drive down the road, or enter a public place advertisements scream for our attention, and in all the noise we have learned to tune out anything that feels targeted to get us to buy a product or attend an event.  At the same time, we live in a world saturated by social media, and all of the impediments to authenticity and deep relationships that have resulted from a highly controlled self-branding culture.

Insert the model of Jesus here.  When we read the gospels, one thing is certain: Jesus wasn’t out to sell a product to an unknown consumer.  He was out to know people, to show them that they were truly known, loved, and cared for.  He sought to show them the bread of life, to be certain, but not without getting dirty first.

Think about that.  The God of the universe came down into the dirt of this world in order to bridge the gap of relationship between God and man.  He took on the bleeding, itchy, sweaty, stinky human flesh we all inhabit, and in the process showed us that He knows us deeply and loves us fully.  What if we tried to reach the world that way?

What if we, like Jesus, took time out of our schedule to develop intentional relationships with stinky people?  What if we set aside our aspirations and goals for a few minutes each day and genuinely sought to know people with the goal of sharing the Jesus who has transformed our lives.  What if we modeled the Emmanuel, God with us, love of Christ, by truly being with and for those we encounter each day?  I think we just might see a few hearts and minds changed, a few eternities redirected, and a few fires lit for Christ. 

Want some strategies for making that change?  You might want to pick up Alvin Reid’s book.  It’s a short read, only around 100 pages, and I think you’ll benefit from it.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach