Youth News for Sept 2017

The Rooted Youth Ministries at FBC have launched in earnest for the 2017-18 school year.  With this new school year comes new faces, new opportunities, and a new chance to define and strengthen the core of our calling in this place at this time in the history of FBC and Jesup, GA.  As we have begun our school year we have also begun a study of the book of Daniel, and in so doing the questions have quickly been brought to our attention “who am I” and “whose am I.” 

Daniel was living in exile, torn from his friends, his family, and his faith.  His Babylonian captors quickly implemented a reeducation program for Daniel and his fellow Judean captives that involved training in the faith and literature of the Babylonians, renaming these young men in accord with the Babylonian gods, and applying a dietary regimen foreign to the faith of Israel.  It was in this initial moment with the kings’ chief official that Daniel had a decision to make: where was he going to draw the line? 

Daniel took it upon himself to learn the language and literature, he showed no sign of balking at the new name given him, but when it came to his diet Daniel felt the need to stand up to his captors.  It may seem strange to us, but for Daniel and his people, their diet was a central component of what set them apart as belonging to the God of Israel.  For him, what he consumed defined who he was and Whose he was.

This semester we are learning from Daniel about how to deal with living in a foreign land.  We may not often think of it this way, but we too are in exile, caught between two kingdoms.  Each day we make the decision whether we will live as a citizen of the world or a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and as we do so we either fulfill the missionary purpose God has given us in this world or we fail to live as those who belong to Jesus.

If we take this lesson and apply it to our youth ministry as a whole we can begin to get a picture of our purpose and call in this time and place.  We exist at this time, in this place, not just as a lose group of friends with a common belief, but more so as exiles bound together by a common mission to the foreign land in which we live.  We meet together to be equipped for the purpose of knowing God and making Him known, to uphold and sustain one another in the work of the everlasting kingdom.  We work ever with an outward focus, knowing that in Christ the hope not only of we the exiles but of the whole world is found. 

So when it comes to living in this world “where will we draw the line?”  We, like Daniel, live in the midst of our culture, we learn its language and literature, we contribute our good to it, we even at times accept the culture’s naming of us, but we never compromise on who we are and whose we are.  We belong to Christ, bought with the blood of the Exile of Heaven, the One who became a servant of all, that He might bring us back to Himself.  This is the message we carry.  This is the purpose of our exile here.  May we be known as those who bear the name of Christ and reveal to the world who He is, the One who is the true Lord of all!

Soli Deo Gloria!


Youth News for August 2017

It’s hard to believe that the summer of 2017 is already coming to a close.  School is starting back, the routine is being reestablished, and everything is settling down.  But before we allow the dust to settle, let me recap the ways that God has worked in the summer of 2017 to reshape His people in and through our youth ministry.  As I do, join with me in giving thanks to our God for the work He has done!

             On May 21st we kicked off the summer with a celebration of our high school graduates.  It was a small class this year, with only 3 participating in our service, but filled with excitement and hope for the future.  There is always a bitter-sweet feeling to seeing our graduates go, and we will continue praying for them as the Lord directs their lives in the future.

As we saw them out we also saw the arrival of our summer intern, Katie.  Her ministry here over the summer has been a huge blessing, especially to our girls as they have gotten to know her and see her passion and love for Christ.  The fruits of her work here will continue to be seen for a long time to come, and we trust that she has been blessed by us as well.  I can tell you that she has been very appreciative of the ways that you have welcomed her for her time here and made her feel at home.

June found us out at Camp Hawkins, experiencing the great joy of working with the special needs kids there and seeing God’s love on display through those children and the counselors and staff.  God used our students in a powerful way to equip that camp for success, and our students were able to experience the ways that God can take what may seem small or insignificant acts of service and bring about huge blessing for those being served.

Our middle school VBS was a time of great excitement and fun, but also was filled with the glory of the gospel on display for students who were hungering for a deeper understanding of who God is and how He calls to us.  Seeing their faces light up when we talked about the saving work of Jesus during Bible study was priceless, and witnessing the power of the Spirit to wake up those middle schoolers to the beauty of His Truth was motivation enough for all of the ministry we do here.

The rest of June and July was filled with dive-ins, trips to an escape room in Savannah, and water park fun at Splash-in-the-Boro, and in the midst of all of it we have been able to gain a deeper understanding of 1 Timothy as Katie has led us in a study of it’s incredible insights.  Our students have been encouraged to set an example for those around them through their leadership, through prayer, in the way they live, and how they interact with the world around them and fellow believers.  It has been an awesome summer!

Even as I type this we are preparing to head to Mission Fuge camp to wrap up the summer, and as we head into the school year we look forward to relaunching our Pray for Me Campaign and seeing the fruit of the Spirit at work through His word is a study of the book of Daniel.  Join with me in praying that God would bring an abundant harvest for this ministry as we continue to press forward in faithfulness to the call that God has given us to make disciples for His Name!

Soli Deo Gloria!


Youth News for July 2017

“One of the greatest tragedies of the fall is that we get tired of familiar glories.”

During our Middle School VBS this past month we had the opportunity to minister to middle schoolers from all walks of life, many of whom had no real familiarity with the glorious gospel of our Lord. As is always the case with such a ministry, our attendance was sporadic from day to day, ranging from 14 on the lightest day to 24 on the largest. If you are unfamiliar with our Middle School VBS, we run a totally separate program from the rest of our Vacation Bible School, using different material, playing different games, and singing different songs.
This week we went through an adapted version of Matt Chandler’s book The Explicit Gospel. This meant that Tuesday was the most important day, we had the opportunity to dig deeply into the meaning and impact of the gospel on the individual and on this world. It was the best day of the week, the conversations were real and open, the students engaged and interested, and the message clear and beautiful. It also happened to be the day that we had all 24 of our students involved. God orchestrates beautiful things.

VBS can be difficult and frustrating, and I remember by Thursday Katie (our summer intern) and I were about to keel over from exhaustion. I had lost track of the important reality of what we were doing and was focused on simply trying to get through it with a decent level of success. That afternoon, however, Katie stepped into my office with a look on her face that reminded me of why we do this. “Zach,” she said, “We got to share the gospel with twenty-four middle schoolers on Tuesday!” The excitement in her voice reminded me of the quote I had used in my sermon just 2 weeks beforehand. “One of the greatest tragedies of the fall is that we get tired of familiar glories.”

How can we grow tired when the work before us is so glorious? How can the gospel grow old and dull, take a back seat, become just the thing we do instead of the joy of our lives! If you helped with VBS this past June, or if you help with any of the many ministries of this church, and even in your labors to bring the gospel to the world in your workplace and wherever you go, let this be the glory that captures your heart and sets your imagination in motion. We are ambassadors of the gospel. What a glorious calling! Revel in it, thank God for it, and we will never run out of energy for the task ahead.

Soli Deo Gloria!



Youth Summer Dive-In Schedule:

             July 5 - Teresa and Jon Scott

             July 12 - Gena and Joe Ierardi

             July 19 - Sabrina and Eddie Thomas

             July 26 - M-Fuge*

             August 2 - Joy and Lex Kenerly  

Youth News for June 2017

Summer is here, the heat wave is in full force (and has been for some time), school is out, Camp Hawkins and VBS are right around the corner, and our summer Dive-Ins kick off at the Ogden’s on May 31st. With those and many other things going on, we need some extra help, and so it is with great excitement that I get to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Youth Summer Intern, Katie Rowand!  Let’s hear a few words from Katie.

Hello! My name is Katie Rowand and I’ll be the Summer Youth Intern working with Zach and the Rooted Ministry students this summer! I’m very excited about the work the Lord will be doing through me in this church and in Jesup!  I come all the way from Grayson, Georgia, so I’m certainly not used to all these gnats (but I hear that dryer sheets will be of great use to me). This upcoming year I’ll be a senior at Georgia College in Milledgeville, where I’m studying Rhetoric and Marketing. When praying over this summer, the Lord brought the word “abundance” to mind. I anticipate seeing this word used throughout this upcoming summer season, as I’ve already seen it take place with the way this church, the students, Pastor Mike, Zach and his family and my host family-the Phillips, have abundantly welcomed me in and have given me a home away from home. I’m honored to be here with you and I look forward to partnering alongside you to be used for the Kingdom of God in honor of the glory that He deserves for the gift of His Son, Jesus.

In the few short days that Katie has been here, I have already noticed a maturity and heart for the Lord that will be a great benefit to us over the next few weeks. I would encourage each of you as you find time to welcome Katie in, invite her to lunch, to your home, to Cafe Euro (she’s another one of us coffee drinkers), and more.  Let’s make her summer as much a blessing for her as I’m certain she will be for us!

As we enter the summer months, also keep this ministry in your prayers. Many of our students will be traveling, many will be out of pocket, and the summer is a great time for folks to recharge and refocus. Let’s pray that our students, and our church would take this time to glory in and find rest in Christ our Lord. Only there is water to refresh our souls that truly springs eternal!

Soli Deo Gloria!



Summer Dive-In Schedule:

June 7 - Camp Hawkins*                          July 5 - Teresa and Jon Scott

June 14 - VBS*                                           July 12 - Gena and Joe Ierardi

June 21 - Lynn and Alan Jones                July 19 - Sabrina and Eddie Thomas

June 28 - Margot and David Amann        July 26 - M-Fuge*

                                                                      August 2 - Joy and Lex Kenerly  


*No Dive-In These Weeks & All Locations Subject to Change

Youth News for May 2017

Summer time is almost here!  Let me take the space I have here to make you aware of several things we have going on through Rooted youth ministries here at FBC.  May will be a month packed with activity as we prepare for the summer months. 

May 21st we have the opportunity to celebrate our graduates!  Please note that if you know of any graduates that would like to be recognized on this date please inform us here at the church office so we can be sure not to overlook anyone.  We are also planning to have an end of the year block party to celebrate the close of the school year on Wednesday, May 24th on the back lawn of the church.  In addition to these events we are planning a celebration of our Pray for Me Campaign over a good meal, date TBD.  This will be an opportunity for all who have participated to share testimonies of their experience as God has used our prayers for our students throughout the school year.

Looking ahead to June and July we will have the chance to welcome our summer intern to Jesup and invite them to serve along-side us in the ministry here.  More details about her will come soon! We will also be shifting our Wednesday night schedule to our yearly dive-ins held at various homes of individuals throughout the church.  Be on the lookout for scheduling details regarding locations. 

Also coming in these months will be an opportunity to help once more with the incredible ministry of Camp Hawkins, June 7, 8, and 10th.  This is always an exciting opportunity to work with the students at this camp and learn service through action.  June 12-16th will be full to the brim with our Vacation Bible School.  We will be inviting all middle school students to participate in our middle school VBS (a more grown-up version of the kids’ VBS, filled with worship, bible study, and games), and our high school students to help volunteer with the children and get a taste of serving them here!

And finally, in July we will be taking our crew to Mission Fuge camp in Greenville, SC, to spend the week in missions, worship, and discipleship as we seek to grow in our relationships with God and in our understanding of His call upon our lives to fulfill the Great Commission.  Those dates are July 24-29th. 

As we approach these busy months, this ministry will be relying heavily on you!  Much is happening, and it can be easy in busy times to forget the purpose for which all of this is taking place: the glory of God and the good of this world.  We need your prayers, your encouragement, your efforts, love, and aid in order for this summer to be successful in that goal.  I am looking forward to the summer!

Be sure to mark all of these events and more to come on your calendars and to be praying for us as we prepare!

Soli Deo Gloria!


Youth News for April, 2017

As I write one week prior we had the opportunity to see a great many come out in support of our youth ministry at the incredible Pancake Supper put on by the small group of Creston and Amy Groover. Tomorrow we will be having 22 of our youth participate in the potentially life-changing Disciple Now 2017. Summer is soon to be under way with all of its activity and excitement. All of these things point to the incredible opportunity we have here at FBC to invest in the lives of young people throughout Jesup and Wayne County. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have been given to serve here and be a part of what is happening.

In the midst of all of this, what has been most exciting to me is the chance to help open the eyes of students to the glory of the gospel. Over the past several weeks we have looked at six areas where the unique message the gospel offers us triumphs over all of the weak stuff of this world. Like a steak dinner is better than a pb&j, the gospel puts the world’s perspective on hope, meaning, morality, identity, satisfaction, and freedom to shame. Nothing is sweeter, more satisfying, and more powerful than the gospel we have been given.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 speaks of the apostles as those who have been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.” We have been entrusted now with that same gospel. It is now our incredible privilege to share that same sweet gospel with those around us. That Christ calls us to Himself in spite of our sin, and that we can fulfill the purpose for which we were designed because of His grace as those in His kingdom, is sweeter than life.

So, then, if we have been entrusted with so sweet a gospel, what stands in the way of sharing it? There are a vast number of responses we could make to that question, but I think the ultimate reason is this: our experience of the sweetness of this gospel has not made its way from our heads to our hearts. An intellectual proposition is no substitute for an experiential acquisition of that taste. It is, as one theologian put it, the difference between knowing that honey tastes sweet because you have been told so by reliable sources, and actually tasting the honey for yourself. So how do we move from one to the other?

The answer is the subject of many books, but what it boils down to is primarily this: prayer. Prayer, in all its forms, but especially as a meditation upon the word of God and the beauty of the gospel, works the taste into our experience much as yeast is worked into bread, eventually leavening the whole loaf. I need to be better at this. I need my intellectual assent to become experiential reality. I need to be better at prayer. What about you?