Having just returned from attending SuperWow in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, my heart is full from the inspiration of an incredible experience with young people from all over Georgia and even from outside our state. It’s fun to watch the buses and vans pull into the parking lot – loaded with young people and leadership prepared for a great time of inspiration, praise, recreation, and fellowship. I have attended SuperWow for 26 years and have been so inspired on every occasion.
Doug Couch served as specialist in Youth Ministries throughout 25 1/2 of those years. Now, we have an entirely new team of staff ministers who are serving in the area of Youth Ministries. Ricky Smith is our new specialist. Serving with him are two consultants, Mike Ricks and Cameron Wilkins. These three men have already done a remarkable and noteworthy job of preparing for and executing an outstanding two weeks of SuperWow in Fort Walton Beach. As always, we are very grateful for Kimberley Outz, who has done such a wonderful job over many years taking care of the details involved in a multitude of youth events.
While at SuperWow I had an opportunity to speak to our youth leaders from across Georgia. I am so impressed with these wonderful people who volunteer their faithful service in their local church to minister among the young people. They are devoted to the spiritual health of their youth and to the salvation of those who need to receive Christ as Savior.
What a thrill it was to be in the hallway and have youth leader after youth leader come to me expressing great joy over a young person who had come to faith in Christ, someone for whom they had been praying for some time. Some of these decisions happen in the worship service, others happened as the groups gathered at night before retiring to bed. I thank the Lord for our volunteer youth leaders and paid youth ministers who have the best spiritual health of our young people at heart. Only 1 out of 8 Georgia Baptist churches has a paid student minister. This means that 7 out of 8 Georgia Baptist churches that have youth ministries have those ministries because of the commitment of volunteer leadership.
I want to ask you to keep our young people in your prayers. These are challenging days for all of us, but most especially for our youth. Pray for the ones that will be going off to college this fall and will be facing many challenges. Pray that they will be strong in the Lord and bold disciples of Christ. Pray also for our elementary students, middle school, and high school students that they will be daily inspired through what they receive from our Georgia Baptist churches. Pray also for our teachers and administrators as they live out their faith in a secular environment.
Our young people are our greatest treasure for the future of the church. This is why as Georgia Baptists we have chosen to focus on reaching the next generation. If you have not taken the opportunity to look at the website, I encourage you to go to ReachingNextGen.com. I hope you will utilize the helps you find there to bless and strengthen the ministry of your local church as we reach the next generation.