Hey everybody, a couple of weeks ago, here with YM Link, we did a virtual round table with youth pastors, as a way of resource, and so what we wanted to do today is, in way of trying to keep this going, is that we are going to do a virtual round table with teenagers, students, and so we strongly believe that not only is that who we’re called to minister to as youth pastors, but also I feel like it is very important that we hear their voice. They have been through a lot over the last few weeks, several weeks now, and not only have they become very important because they’re so technologically savvy, but also, they’ve been going through a lot in having to deal with all this, and so we are excited to have them here today, and so we’re gonna spend some time just kind of talking about several different things in their lives and what’s going on, and so, we’re gonna let them introduce themselves. We do have my friend Josh Meadows who is the Student Pastor at Spring Valley Baptist Church, and he’s here helping, just kind of hanging out with us, and so we’re so glad he’s joined us, but as we do that, I’m gonna introduce, well I’m gonna let them introduce themselves, so at this time, Will, you go ahead.
Hey, my name’s Will Enley, and I am a senior in high school, and I go to Daughin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama.
Hi, my name’s Katie Chopel, I’m 16, and I’m in the 10th grade, and I go to Eastern Hills in Montgomery, Alabama.
What’s up, I’m Jonathan Moore, and I’m a senior, and I go to First Baptist Church Trussville.
Hi, I’m Kristin Merrick, I go to Crossroads Community Church in Millbrook, Alabama.
Hey, I’m Jackson Breedglove, and I’m a senior at Austin High School, and I go to West Community Baptist Church in Decatur, Alabama.
Hey, I’m Carley Wyatt, I am a junior at Thorsby High School, and I go to Thorsby First Baptist Church in Thorsby, Alabama.
Hey, I’m Emma Smith, and I am a sophomore at Springville High School, and I go to Spring Valley in Springville.
Okay, so we have a variety of different teenagers from kinda all over the state, all the way from Mobile to Huntsville or Decatur, and we have, I think we had pretty much most of the years covered in high school. We did bring on some seniors with us today just so they could kinda talk about what it looks like for them, and so what we’re gonna open up with for each of you, in this question is this, I mean you can kinda of pop in and answer, you don’t have to go in any certain order, but just, what has been the biggest challenge as a student during this COVID-19, I guess, last few weeks and all that we’ve been going through?
For me, one of the biggest challenges has been just trying not to overthink too much, and just kinda trying to relax and think as positive as possible because there’s a lot of like negative things that I could be thinking about that would just make me miserable but, just trying to stay as positive as possible and just, find opportunities in as many places I can to make good things happen.
Okay, somebody else.
Um so the biggest challenge for me is we don’t have a youth minister right now at my church and so the biggest challenge that I have noticed it’s hard to as a youth leader to pour into younger ones when you have no one pouring into you. And so that’s just been really challenging is trying to keep yourself together and the youth group together when you don’t have a higher authority constantly telling you how to live life the right way.
My biggest challenge would probably be like not being able to be around people coz I’m a very big people person, and I like to talk and all that so it’s been kind of hard like just staying at home and not being able to do anything.
Yeah I really feel that I know. But our youth group is pretty close we’re all pretty good friends, and so it’s been hard to be away from them and to try to learn and to grow away from them, and I’m in the youth band and I lead worship, on Wednesdays so it’s hard to lead worship through the internet. And it’s not as worshipful for the band I would say and so it’s harder for that.
For me it’s hard just knowing that I’m missing out on all these events that I usually would be doing around this time, it’s just hard just having to, remind myself that God still does know what he’s doing, through this, so that’s mine.
I feel like one of my biggest challenges right now is probably just like, keeping my priorities straight because when you don’t have like a certain schedule that you have to follow everyday you know you don’t have to go to this class at this time and this class at this time it’s easy to get distracted and, want to do other things when you don’t have that, that schedule to follow. So just making sure that you’re doing the things that need to be done first and the things that maybe you want to do later that’s probably been one of the biggest challenges for me it’s just to, keep everything, keep myself on task and getting everything done.
Um my biggest challenge would be that, sharing the gospel outside of like not being in school, it’s just hard to do. Luckily we do have the internet to share the gospel over things like video conferences or just text, but having that face to face contact with others just is so much better to have when you’re sharing the gospel. So that’s probably the biggest challenge.
Okay, good deal. Okay so now we’re gonna kind of go the opposite direction. What has been the best or biggest opportunity that you’ve had as a student during this time?
I would say the biggest opportunity is just having a lot of time to reflect and really focus on quiet time because, I know like when I had school and stuff I would try to like rush it in the mornings or fit it in at night right before I went to bed, but now its I mean, so much time on my hands I just have time to really, focus and not be rushed with my quiet time and just to be able to really reflect and feel refreshed and not have to worry about going fast.
I fee like for me I really realized how much I depended on myself for everything, and now I’m having to depend on him for everything, and it’s made me realize that my priorities weren’t as straight as they needed to be, so I really gotten to get my priorities straight.
For me my biggest opportunity is my response, to like when, like I’ve had grownups walk up to me and be like, man Jackson I’m so sorry you’re missing out on the rest of this year, and that’s when it’s my response to that, when I can tell them, hey it’s okay you know God’s in control, and he’s sovereign.
For me it’s been really cool to see how the church has stayed going, how it’s kept up with Sunday services and Wednesdays for the youth and the kids, and just keeping everyone still connected and it’s cool to be a part of that.
I kind of agree with Jonathan on talking about how we always like rush through our quiet time like in the morning or late at night, but now this time we can actually sit down, and read more in-depth into our quiet times. And so we can also talk more with our parents and youth ministers and pastors or any other people that we know who are stronger in their faith.
For me it’s been super cool to see the kids in my youth group getting Zoom calls together and like texting each other even when we don’t have our youth minister right now, that we socially wanna be together and that we want to go deeper in the word so that’s cool.
I agree with the quiet time it’s been really good being able to challenge myself to dig deeper because I feel like we take church for granted when we do have it and we just rely on, our pastors and youth pastors to do all the work but, in reality they’re not the ones that are gonna get us to heaven so when you can challenge yourself everyday to grow spiritually personally and you’re not worried about somebody else doing it for you that’s really, it’s really helps me a lot just to challenge myself to grow everyday in the word.
Um, well um, so um, the next one is a little different, this is all great stuff and it’s good that y’all are getting to see this it’s fun as someone who’s been spent a lot of years in youth ministry and now, kind of state wide youth ministry stuff getting to see teenagers who, are reflecting and seeing things the way that you are is very impressive and I’m very thankful to be able to have this conversation and this next one is really interesting and fun for me because, being that I spend more time I guess with your youth pastors than anybody else um, then, then this one is kinda fun because obviously I have a personal relationship with all of your youth pastors and in a high respect level for all of them. But now I want you to take a chance, and I’ve kind of phrased this in two ways, one for you Katy because I do realize that y’all are at Eastern Hills without are in transition right now and so; But what has your student minister, or student ministry you can kind of do both if you want, done well during this time? What have they done? And so, Tristin I will say while I’m talking, that I’ve missed hanging out with you since I’m at Crossroads and getting to hang out on Wednesday nights with you guys and so, but what are some things your youth minister youth ministry is doing well as a unit and kind of talk about that for a second.
My youth pastor is Jeremy James and he is like the best youth pastor ever. And the night I found out that my whole soccer season was canceled for senior year and all that, I went to his house and we watched a funny movie and they fed me ice cream and let me cry to them the whole night. And, he’s just truly one of a kind and, he has been Lodge, Zoom call, pretty much everything to be involved as much as he can with everything going on and he’s just really made such an impact with everything going on.
I would say one thing that or my student administrator is Spencer Jones and one thing and he’s done really well is just, like, he even takes in a couple guys to go play disc golf and still stay socially distance, but I mean just, doing as much as we can to just, have a little community. And doing things like Zoom calls and Wednesday night worship and stuff has just been, really refreshing and nice to see when, I’m stuck at home all day pretty much.
Y’all have a nice disc golf course up there in Joseville?
Yeah we do, it’s not bad.
Okay I’m gonna have some social distance with you guys.
Go ahead, go ahead.
Um my youth pastor is Justin Kayton and he is um awesome. He has done a really good job of trying to keep us connected. We have something at our church called disciple groups and we’re, um we’re put in groups based on like our age or maybe where we are spiritually but, we just take time and read the word and, we haven’t been able to meet like we usually have so we’ve been doing face times and Zoom’s and stuff and, being able to talk about that even though it’s not a person the same grade and Justin’s been going live for his Wednesday night messages, and that’s been awesome, it’s been kind of a struggle being on the praise team being able to get that together but we’re working on it we’re in the progress of that so, Justin has done a great job of keeping us in contact and in the know about things and, he’s just a really awesome guy.
So what my youth minister Jeremy Montgomery has done, he has done a great job of keeping us all accountable with each other. Through this time with our Bible study and our quiet times. So we’ve done Zoom meetings as well, and it’s not just us getting together and just talking about life it’s, it’s actually structured and he’s done a great job of that of having it structured. We’re going through Apologetics right now and just he’s allowing us to ask questions about anything we have questions about. And I think we’re also about to start letting our Sunday School teachers give testimonies of how they’re staying true and within their faith during this time.
Um for me one thing that I think my youth minister’s done well is the family kind of bond that we’ve created for my birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I woke up and I was a little upset coz I was like, I’m gonna be sitting in my house on my 16th birthday this is awe full, and so but around twelve thirty my mom told me to go outside and a bunch of the church youth were just like lined up down the street with gifts and just like everything. And then a lot of the adults had dropped off gifts without me knowing, so just knowing that like, everyone still cares during this time is really heart warming to know that like it’s kind of a family bond so that was great.
My student minster is Terrance Andrews and Terrance has always been awesome at reaching out and sending encouraging texts and stuff like that. So, this time for him is honestly like, second hand nature. I mean just, it’s like everyday I get an encouraging group me text in our youth group meeting and then I get, an encouraging text on my phone, and so he’s been really great at that.
My youth pastor is Josh Meadows, and um he’s been doing a really good job with keeping us all connected and keeping it consistent on Sundays and, we do this thing called fun Fridays where we just get on and we play games and do different trivia and it’s a lot of fun but for me personally, he’s been super encouraging because, the guy who leads our youth band has been put on full lockdown and he can’t leave his house. And so kind of some of that responsibility has fallen on me and that’s not really, who I am as taking up lead like that, to an extent, and so he’s been encouraging with helping me do it.
So we’re about to ask the seniors for a quick question but because of CoVid-19 I wanted Katy to come on. But she has to leave a little early to go do online school, and so I wanted to, we gonna skip down to the next question, one of the next thoughts and kind of let Katy go ahead and give your final word if you are gonna give to be a voice or whatever, use this time and just give a final word of encouragement or whatever that looks like for you before you have to leave.
Um, so I would just say like one thing that I’ve learnt throughout life is it’s not about how you take the journey it’s about who you take it with. And it’s just during this time we don’t have a youth minister but we have each other, and I think as long as we have that remember that. That everything is gonna be okay and that discipleship like Scooter has taught me like that’s a real thing like everyone needs that, so I would just encourage everyone to keep that so yeah. I’m gonna go to Bible class now.
Okay thanks Katy, thanks for joining us today. All right so we have four seniors on the call right now um and, so what I want you to do is just kind of share kind of, just kind of talk, just what is something that, that you want somebody to hear you say about your time of being a senior and kind of missing out on some things and one of you, I think a while ago hinted to a little bit of that, and so, I think that was you Jackson right so. But just, it can be positive, it can be just being raw, it just be, but just share be a voice speak into that.
I would say like I’ve missed out on a bunch, like my soccer season and all that, and like soccer I’ve played since I was like in second grade so it was a big dealish for me. And, not getting like senior night which was actually supposed to be tonight, but not getting all that like, it stung you know I was like broken like I was in my bed moping around for at least a week or two. And, then it like hit me like, it’s not about me and it’s not about, it’s not about like what I want to do it’s about what he wants me to do, and he’s gonna place me where I need to be and when I need to be there. So, just kind of learning that and like realizing how selfish I was because there’s so much going on and what I could be doing for him instead of worrying about what I want, that was like a huge eye opener and like I’m such in, in such a better place now because of it.
Tristin where did graduate from or where are graduating from, and where are you going next year, and what is your major gonna be?
Okay I’m going or I’m graduating from Mulberry High School and I’m going to Mississippi State University Hail State, and um, and I’m going for Business.
Um I would say just during this time, one thing that I’m really trying to do is like, all throughout like the past few years I’ve been like saying like, God’s in control and keep like, I’ve been saying it but I don’t know if it’s really been true. But I would say that during this time one thing that I’ve learned is that it’s like, like there’s a fork in the road and it’s either the way I’m going like over-think about all this and just be miserable, or I’m just gonna say, God you’ve got this and just kinda give him everything I have. And just know that he knew that all this was gonna happen while nobody else did. So I mean I would just say, one thing that’s been big for me is that just giving him control truly just trying to relax and find rest during all this. So yeah.
And Jonathan where are you graduating from and, same for you, where are you going and what’s your major gonna be?
Yeah I’m graduating from Hewitt-Trussville High School and I’m going to Alabama and I’m majoring in Kinesiology so.
Um for me, the hardest thing honestly I just like I kinda at first I started to ask myself like why us, like why the class of 2020, like out of all other senior graduating classes ever, why is this happening now, like. And but God he really reminded me of Job, and he reminded me of how Job at one point in his life was struggling big time. And he was kinda asking God the same question like, “God why me?” He even says, “God why have you made me your target?” But then, you see throughout the book Job persevere, and because he did in Job 42, you see that he grew from it. Like it says, Job says to God he said, “God my ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen.” And so that’s just what’s kinda getting me through it’s just really realizing that if I persevere through this then man, God’s got something better on the other side.
That’s good. And, and same for you Jackson where are you graduating from and what, and where are you headed and what are you gonna major in?
Um I’m graduating from Austin High School and I’m planning on Majoring in Christian Studies at Mississippi College.
Good deal, okay. And Will.
Um so being a senior just going through the school system, all throughout from first grade all the way to being a senior I’ve made lifetime friends I know for a fact. But, moving on to college and everyone else going their separate ways whether they’re going out of state to a different college or to the workforce um, it kind of hit me really hard last week that I’m not gonna see them ever again. I never had that last chance at graduation to say my goodbyes, get a last picture I never got any of that but, what God just laid on me is that, hey, you don’t need to worry, there’re churches around luckily I’m staying near my home church. But out at other colleges there aren’t churches around that college, there aren’t campus ministries, and there are friends certain places for you to meet to help you grow in your walk. And that’s also a thing you need to watch out for, or as seniors going on to college is that what you surround yourself in and the people you surround yourself with, is how you’re gonna turn out. So you need to make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with godly people, and or people that you’re trying to reach out to.
That’s good, those are some really good words and you guys are awesome and I am so thankful that I’ve gotten to talk with you today and just hear what you’re talking about and hear your thoughts and, not only does it show how great of teenagers you are and students, but it also reflects, somebody has invested in your life and, so I’m thankful for not only your youth pastors and I know that Tristin talks about Jeremy being the best and I do love Jeremy but I bet all of you could say the same things about your youth pastors. And Jackson you’ve got two youth pastors, you’re two youth pastors in your church so, which you’re both phenomenal, you get the, you struck gold my friend. And so, which for that matter Jonathan I know you have two you have it really good in in having two solid youth pastors, Jeremy Montgomery I think so much of him. Will just hearing you talk about evangelism and then hearing you talk about structure and, and Apologetics and what y’all doing right now I’m not surprised by that. I’m not gonna talk too much about Josh ’cause he’s on the call but, I love what he’s doing and I’m so thankful for him as well and then, I don’t know I just. And then Justin Kayton I talk to him pretty regularly as well so it’s just, this has kind of been fun to see you guys just share about what kind of young men and women you are and, then getting to talk about and reflect what what your youth ministers have invested in your lives. Um, I do wanna tell you that um, that the importance of being able to be a part of a resource like this, for you teenagers, is, I always share this with youth pastors everywhere but I think it’s important for you to know and understand at a younger age, is that um, corporative program, is a word that we use a lot in my world. And every time that you tithe to your church because I believe that the mandate to tithe is not just for adults, I think that that you should be giving as well, and God calls us all to do that. And when you do that you get to impact just as today we’ve come together to share and be a voice for people all over the, really the state and the nation and the world, you giving is to make an impact for the gospel and the kingdom the same. So you may give to your church which is a local church but through that, churches go out and they get to give to churches and to missionaries and to the State Board of Missions so that we can do things like this, so that we can put on a lot of the events that y’all talked about and so, I just want you to know the importance of giving to your local church not only can you make a difference in a local setting but also around the world. And so, thank you for coming on today, I want you each to give kind of a final word, today. But before you do that, so be thinking about what your final word you wanna kind of share. Before that Josh from a youth minister stand point who’s on this call and listening, do you have any thoughts about what’s kinda gone on over the last 30 minutes?
So Scoot and I were texting a little bit. I think hearing all of you and your perspectives on what’s happening, on what’s going on, on really the uncertainty, of all that’s going on and seeing you lean into the Lord, it’s been super encouraging to me, as a leader to hear like North, South, East, West all over in our state, this is going on. And I think as Scooter said it is a reflection of the leadership the people who are investing in your lives. So it’s pretty cool just to be able to listen in and hear what God’s teaching you. I wanna encourage all of you, keep pursuing the Lord. Make it whatever time of day works for you, you put it in your phone, put a reminder, I set reminders to read the word. And I don’t know if that’s real spiritual or not, but it’s a spiritual choice for me at night as part of my daily habits to read certain passages of scripture every night. And so I encourage you, keep pursuing Jesus it’s awesome to hear your heart and I believe that you will but, those of you who are seniors, it will be a different world you walk into in a couple months, keep pursuing Jesus, he’s got big things in store for all of you.
Will did I ask ask you where you are graduating from and where you’re going?
No. So I’m graduating from Seren High School um and I will be attending the University of South Alabama and majoring in Music Education.
Okay, awesome. Sorry I forgot to do that, but thinking about where all of you are going, um, I think there are quality BCM’s on each of those and so I wanna encourage you to get plugged in to the BCM’s and find that campus minister and be a part of what they’re doing there cause it’s a great ministry to be a part of. All right so we’re gonna let you kind of give a final thought, a final word, kind of that has of encouragement just to sustain and kind of help remain positive, so, I’ll let you each take a turn with that.
Kind of just going with what Jackson said is just that, while it may seem hard right now like it’s gonna last forever like, it’s not gonna last forever and I just think this time is honestly a great opportunity to just build a good foundation. As us seniors especially about to go into college and it’s gonna be completely different, and having a good foundation when it does, all this does blow over and we’re in college and it’s gonna be a lot of fun but, just staying grounded in Christ is just a big thing. I think this is a great opportunity to really do so.
Um I would just say like trust the Lord and give it to him coz you can’t do it by yourself and you need him through every step that we’re gonna go through, so, um just give it all to him.
Something that I’ve been going back to a lot recently is Isaiah 43 verse 19 it says, “Look I’m about to do something new, even now it is coming, do you not see it? Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” And, that’s been, it’s really been on my mind a lot lately because I think that shows that, everyday that we have is a new opportunity. Even though it feels like we’re in the same routine and we’re stuck in the same place here now, everyday we have the chance to wake up and we have to make a choice we’re either gonna um further our relationship with him, or we’re gonna stay the same. And I think so it’s really important that just everyday we wake up that, we realize that God’s doing something new each and everyday even if we can’t see it. He’s doing something new and we have to make the choice to just really pursue him everyday.
I think the big thing to remember is not to worry. He has a plan set out for each one of us, and we don’t need to mess with that plan, we don’t need to fork off a different rode and try to go on our own path, we need to remember that he has a plan set out for us, and that we don’t have to worry about what the future holds.
Just to um, to continue to stay in the word and stay in contact with your youth group and your youth leaders and, just your friends from school and be encouraging to them. And just remember that even when we don’t see it, he is working.
And I’m with Emma, I’d say just, keep staying in the word like, for most people since they were born I mean this might be the most time they’ve ever had to just sit and reflect on where they stand with Jesus Christ. And so, I mean just keep pursuing Jesus through this and even when we get out of it, keep pursuing him.
Thank you all for sharing today thank you all for being here. And I can’t wait to, for you to get to see and hear what these teenagers have to say as we publish this live.