So Where Do We Go From Here?

Isn't that a question we all ask ourselves from time to time. We had an incredible D-Now weekend. The Bible study was intriguing, the activities were exhausting, and the food was amazing. We had over 31 students participating with us, and we are seeing some more excitement with our youth. But really, where do we go from here?

This is not a time for us to sit back and talk...we are called to action! There are some wonderful Sunday School teachers and parents who are working in the background to ensure that we do not lose the momentum our church has worked and supported together to build.  Developing relationships with each other and being intentional within those relationships is an important step. One way you can make that happen is to participate in the activities we have planned for our youth in the next couple of months. Some of the events already on the calendar include:

  • ·Lock-in starting at 5:00pm—May 17
  • ·Graduation Sunday—May 19 (we need youth to serve the meal)
  • ·Asher Kenerly—youth intern arrives—May 19
  • ·Dive-ins—May 29 and most Wednesdays all summer
  • ·Camp Hawkins—June 12, 13, 15—go over in the morning and return each afternoon AND also help unload the campers in front of the church on June 16th and join them as they sing in our morning worship service
  • ·Vacation Bible School—June 17-21 (a special trip is planned on the 21st for the youth who work in VBS)
  • ·CentriFUGE—TBA—we are trying to nail down a specific date, so watch for that announcement

We are working on planning other activities, and we will announce them as they are finalized. We want our youth involved and active in the ministries of our church, but we also want them to know it is ok the have fun while you are participating.

The Youth Minister Search Committee is meeting on a regular basis as they search for the person God has planned for us as our new youth minister. The search committee has committed to  working together to find that person,   and the committee asks that each of you to please keep the members of the search committee in your prayers. Also, please continue praying for whomever the Lord had planned to come serve in our church as the Youth Minister. Pray that his/her heart will be open to serve the Lord at FBC Jesup, and pray that we will welcome him/her with open arms and open hearts.

Denise Voyles


Our D-NOW weekend has ended. After weeks of intense preparation, prayer, and persistence, we had 31 youth who spent a weekend together learning how to write and tell their story. Our AMAZING host homes made the students feel unconditionally welcome, and that simple fact moved the students from scattered groups of children to cohesive teams. Thank you to Amy and Creston Groover, Sabrina and Eddie Thomas, Keri and Bill Headley, and Melissa and Walt Pinder for loving on your students and welcoming them into your homes.

Asher Kenerly, one of our own former D-NOW students, created a team of group leaders who led the students through the Bible study. These young men and women took time from their spring break to come to Jesup and love on our kids, and they give us hope for the future of our nation. I want to give a huge shout-out to Christina (also one of our former youth), Powell, Bradley, Mack, David, and Andrew for loving our students. Asher will be our youth intern this summer, and this weekend gave him the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a relationship with the youth.

The greatest thank you of the weekend goes to our congregation for your support, prayer, and donations to our mission project. Lynn Jones raised the bar in her challenge during the children’s sermon, and what an overwhelming response we witnessed from our church! What a way to represent the words of Christ in Matthew 25:37, 41, “‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? The king will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me.’” You gave 381 cans of vegetables, 232 variations of spaghetti and sauce, Beefaroni, ravioli, spaghettios, and spaghetti and meatballs, 176 cans of soups and stews, 146 cans of meat, 171 boxes/bags of grits, oatmeal, and cereal, 121 bags/boxes rice, noodles, and dried beans, 32 jars of peanut butter, 36 jars of jelly, 181 miscellaneous paper products, tooth brushes, and toothpaste, and finally 127 various items. That is 1603 items, and you donated them all! Dedra Shuman, Linda Hires, Linda Jones, Suzette Williamson, and Buddy Williamson did an amazing job keeping the Food Pantry flowing while we were all outside with the Block Party.

The question of the day is, “Where do we go from here?” The Youth Search Committee has met twice, and we are laying the groundwork for our search for the Minister to Students that God has chosen for us. The committee members are Tina Anderson, Robert Headley, Jerri Henderson, Joe McPipkin, Angie Schrum, Miki Thomaston, Gina Thornton, Denise Voyles, and Suzette Williamson. We are committed to keeping the momentum from our D-NOW weekend and helping our students grow in their relationship with Christ. Please feel free to offer your help and respond with, “I’d be happy to help.” when you are approached with a need in our youth department. Together we can do this and make an eternal difference in the lives of our students.

Denise Voyles

Got Youth? Get Involved!

Hey y’all! This is Denise Voyles writing the youth article for The Witness this month. As you all know, Zach has moved to Tennessee following God’s plan to become a full-time lead pastor. As we have all enjoyed his time with us and the messages he shared from the pulpit, I am confident that God will move in miraculous ways in his new church home. Continue to keep Zach and his family in your prayers.

There are adults working behind the scenes planning to ensure there is no gap in our Youth Ministry in Zach's absence. Our youth are the future of our church, and we must lift them up and intercede for them in prayer. Also, please pray for those adult leaders who feel God’s prompting to step up and stand in the Youth Ministry gap. Also, if you are willing to help with our youth, please let Earl, Creston, or Mike know. God can use all of us!

We have an amazing youth event planned for March 22-24. It is our annual D-NOW (also called Disciple Now) weekend. Our church is joining with Calvary, First Screven, First Ludowici, Anderson Drive, and Altamaha to host this opportunity for the youth in Wayne County. Asher Kenerly, our summer youth intern, is bringing a team to lead our youth, and I am so excited to have the honor of working with D-NOW. We have several activities, Bible studies, and worship services planned. Our students will be staying in host homes Friday through Sunday, and our Brotherhood is providing breakfast Sunday morning for all our youth at 8:30.

I want to spend the last lines of this article sharing with you about our mission project on Saturday during D-NOW. We are hosting a block party at the Bayview Housing Community on Pine Street from about 1:15-4:45. Did you know there are 50 units in that community? We are planning a general store, hot dogs, chips, drinks, games, and a Bible lesson during the event. We need some help to ensure the block party is a success. Could you spend the next three weeks until March 20th  picking up a few extra groceries (including cans of ravioli, Spaghettios, individual servings of items for the kids to eat on the weekends, etc.), dry goods (small bags of flour, sugar, oil, etc.), and any other grocery item you can think we might could use in the general store? Just drop them by the church and let them know they are for the D-NOW weekend.

Please pray for this D-NOW event that God will move in miraculous ways in the hearts of our community. Pray for the team of college students Asher Kenerly is bringing to teach and disciple our youth. Pray for the host homes who will have a direct and significant impact on the weekend. Pray for our youth that they will have a hope and security of a personal relationship with Christ. Pray for our church that we will encourage, uplift, and demonstrate God’s love to each other and our community. We “Got Youth”; let’s “Get Involved”!

Farewell Message from Zach

Thank you!

I want to shout those words from the stage for everyone to hear.  Thank you! In so many ways, on so many levels, this church has blessed us.  How many are the ways?  Let me count them, just a few.

Family.  It’s the first calling of a church toward its members, and it has been the way you have welcomed us and cared for us.  From the moment we arrived in Jesup to youth and parents showing up in the pouring rain to unload a uHaul full of heavy boxes and furniture, to the response and outpouring of love we have received on announcing our move, you have treated us as family.  Thank you.

Investment.  This church, it’s leadership and ministers especially, have invested in us immensely in our time here.  We have grown because of that investment, and seen the love of God displayed time and again toward us.  We have been shaped and moulded here in so many powerful ways.  Thank you.

Grace.  As we have learned and stumbled, you have been gracious to us.  As we have experienced times of strain and business at home, you have shown us patience.  As we have labored  you have come alongside us to help us on the way.  Thank you.

In these ways, and so many more, I want to shout “thank you!”

As we go, there are other words I want to shout, too. “Press on!” I want to say.  It can be easy to give up hope or to take the comfortable route.  Do not let the burden of loving and serving our youth override the immense blessing of seeing them come to faith and grow and produce fruit as disciples of our Lord.  So press on!

“Give yourselves to the work!” I want to say.  The only way our community can be impacted by the gospel is through your time.  People need people, youth especially.  As wonderful as paid staff and nice spaces may be, the only way to make an impact on an eternal soul is through the love of other eternal souls.  So give yourselves to the work!

“Place your hope in the Lord!” I want to say. The days ahead will be the best yet if you will pursue the Lord. Human effort is in vain if it is not from the Lord.  Before you can do the work, you must love the One who gives it to you.  So, trust Him.  Lean on Him.  Hope in Him.  He is the God who holds the future.  He holds you too.

A question I have been asked a few times is this: “do we know who the new youth minister will be?”  I, of course, don’t know.  But at the same time, in another, truer way, I know exactly who the youth minister is.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Youth News for Jan, 2019

It’s the beginning of a New Year with all of the possibilities and potential that comes with a clean slate. What will 2019 be like?  What will be accomplished for the work of the church? How will God be glorified and people restored in our midst? There is so much that can be done, and as we begin this new year I wanted to take a moment to put one possibility before you.

why they strayWe are getting ready to begin a study in our small groups around a book by Dr. Steve Parr and Dr. Tom Crites entitled Why They Stay: Helping Parents and Church Leaders Make Investments That Keep Children and Teens Connected to the Church for a Lifetime. It’s a big title, I know, but the subject is of immense importance as we think about the future of this church, and the future of the Church as a whole. How can we contribute to the command of God to invest in the next generation of His people? How can we make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, connected to the church, rooted firmly in their faith, and persevering in their commitment to God in Christ?

These are questions we will be asking, and answering, as we go through this study. As a youth minister, one of the questions that is often raised by those I talk to is, “Why are so many young people leaving the church?” The answers are more numerous than we can list. But the question, “Why do others stay?” becomes the more relevant one for us. There are certain factors grounded in Scripture that contribute to a healthy and sticky faith in young people, and we need to work to cultivate those factors.

This book will help us to consider these factors, and to focus our attention on the next generation. Healthy churches cultivate an atmosphere of welcome and discipleship for younger folks and require the effort and investment of all generations, especially those wiser and more experienced, to accomplish this task.

This is not just the work of the few called to “full-time youth work.” It’s the call of the entire body of Christ. That includes you. So, as we prepare to study this most important subject, won’t you commit to joining us, and so commit to serving and loving the next generation? I hope you will.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Youth News for Dec 2018

Serving the Lord is the privilege of His gospel people.  His mission is the great goal and glory of our earthly lives.  Each day we are making an investment in something, and the question becomes what are we investing in?  Will my investment last into eternity, or will it fade with the inevitable passing of time?

We have spent the last several weeks focused on the idea of Reconnecting. Reconnecting with being like Jesus, with prayer, with worship, community, outreach, servanthood, stewardship, and ownership of God’s church and his mission. All of these are eternal investments. All of these connections make life richer, full of meaning. All of them get at the heart for what we were created. So, have you reconnected? Have you taken up the call to invest for eternity?

Those of you who were present for the final Sunday in our Reconnect series have heard this already, but I wanted to place the possibilities before you again. As you consider the ways you are being called to take ownership of the mission of God’s church, and specifically of His work through FBC Jesup, don’t ask “what would I like to do,” but rather “how can God use me in the ways He has equipped me to serve Him.” When we join with His call and equipping, we will find purpose and joy, even when it might feel uncomfortable at first, even when it requires sacrifice, and maybe even especially so.

So, how can you get involved? How can we “call a new generation to join us in making Jesus more like heaven today than it was yesterday?” Let me count the ways. Imagine with me, if we were able to do something new in the lives of our students.

  • ·What if we had people in the church who were willing to start a drama ministry with the students?
  • ·What if we could send out vans on Sundays and Wednesday nights to pick up students for church and take them home?
  • ·What if we were able to start a mentoring ministry for our students, pairing them with older believers who could share their walk with Christ?
  • ·What if we had someone to teach a middle school boys Sunday school class and show them what it means to be a mature Christian man?
  • ·What if we had enough chaperones that we never had to worry about whether we could take a trip or not?
  • ·What if we had someone to head up a missions focus with our students at the center?
  • ·What if we stopped viewing the youth ministry as the job of the parents and instead equipped it with passionate leaders from all generations of the church?
  • ·What if instead of a 5 to 1 ratio of students to adults, we flipped that and had a 1 to 5 ratio of students to adults?

The possibilities are endless.  The investment is eternal.  How will you partner with us in 2019?

Soli Deo Gloria!