Youth News for August 2018

Summer has come and gone, and with it a flurry of activity, both within and without of the youth ministry here at FBC.  From VBS to Camp Hawkins, escape rooms to bowling alleys, service projects to ping pong tournaments, all along the way we have seen the work of God among and through us.  A large part of that has been the labor of our summer intern, Jill.  She has kept us all in line here at FBC.  But Jill’s time with us is at an end, and so while saying goodbye to summer, we say goodbye also to someone who has become a dear friend.  She is, as well, saying goodbye to all of us, and so we thought we would give her the space here to say goodbye to you:

As this summer is nearing an end, I'm reminded of all that this summer has consisted of. Being able to be a part of this church for the summer has exceeded my expectations and has meant so much to me. I cannot say thank you enough to every staff, member, family, and student that I've been able to meet this summer. Everyone has been so welcoming and made this town a home for me. I will always have a special place in my heart for Jesup, Georgia as I'm reminded of the countless memories, numerous laughs, and most importantly, the place God moved and spoken so powerfully. It has been truly a pleasure to be able to serve God with everyone in this church and town. Thank you for letting me join your ministry and for giving me this experience. I will continue to pray for you and cannot wait to hear how God continues to move!

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Philippians 1:3-5 

Jill’s influence will be missed, but we look forward to seeing how the Lord uses her for His kingdom in years to come!  Saying goodbye is both the trial and the joy of our summer internship program.  In a way, we get to be an equipping ground and a launch pad for the future ministries of these interns. 

As much fun as the summer can be, I am looking forward to getting back into the routine of a normal schedule, back into the solid and steady work of investing week after week in the students here at our church.  The fall semester has some great things in store for us as we welcome the new school year, trusting in the future that God has for us.  Let’s join in that work together!  It’s going to be an amazing year!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

Youth News for July 2018

One of my favorite things about the summer is the chance I have to reconnect with our college students.  Every Sunday night we host the college and young adults of FBC Jesup at our house to study, pray, and fellowship together.  This summer it was suggested that we work our way through the Minor Prophets, and so far it has been a fascinating journey.  We began with Jonah, working our way through to the moment when Jonah whines about the heat (something I can appreciate in south GA) because his shade tree died, and God says to Jonah, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”

That’s my favorite line: “and also much cattle?”  I can remember sitting on a hillside reading through the book of Jonah during my days as a camp counsellor and reading that line for the first time, thinking, “really?  That’s the way Jonah ends?  Why have I never heard that part?”  Our God is a God of pity, a God who calls on His people to have compassion, compassion for the cattle, compassion, even, for the people of an enemy nation, a place known for it’s evil and darkness.  And He is a God who calls us to the hard task of loving our Ninevite neighbors, those who threaten our safety and oppose the plans of God.  He sees behind the bluster of human pride to the deep seated need we all have of Him.  And He calls us to do the same.

This week we have been working with middle school students at VBS, and the theme of our middle school week has been Kyle Idleman’s series “Not a Fan.”  It has been a challenge to move beyond the kind of Christianity that has us sitting in the bleachers and cheering for “team Jesus,” to actually being out on the court.  There has been a lot of conversation about the cost of following Him, and as we have seen His call on us to give up everything for His sake we have encountered various ways we like to hold on to our comfortable Jesus.  One of those ways is our struggle to see beyond “us” and “them.”  Jonah could only see the enemy in Nineveh.  God saw “120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle.”  So, how do we see our neighbors?  With the vision of Jonah, or with the vision of Christ?  If we start to look at those around us with the eyes of Christ it will cost us.  It will drive us to sacrifice for the good of the “enemy.”  It will cause us to work for the salvation of all “others.”  But in the end, only when we see through the eyes of Christ do we see the world for what it’s meant to be, and only then can we truly serve the Kingdom.  So what’ll it be?  Fan, or follower?  Jonah, or Jesus?  The choice is up to us.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Zach

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