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Churches invest efforts in youth
In the pulpit
Dallas Dykes
Dallas Dykes
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Proverbs 22:6
Society often paints a grim picture of young people. But not all of our children are engaged in violent activities and have a seemingly “it’s all about me” attitude.
Many of our youths are busy in the community and the church, being trained and prepared to take the helm of leadership. You will find some of them involved in every aspect of the worship service. On certain Sundays, most churches have Youth Sunday.  
The youths are in charge of the services and are responsible for ushering, leading the devotion/praise and worship, providing the song service and music, reading the announcement/welcome, and collecting tithes and offering. At times, they are given responsibility for bringing words of inspiration/encouragement.
Churches normally have a youth pastor or youth minister assigned. Their responsibility is to work with the youth in conjunction with the pastor to assist in their spiritual growth.
In the midst of training youths to help in the church, these ministers also plan activities outside the church to enrich the youths’ educational, cultural and social experiences. Often, they will plan a trip to theme parks and other recreational facilities so the youths can get away and relax. Many churches take the children to the movies and  sporting events such as bowling, skating and swimming.   
Some churches have their youths participate in mission trips to other states and countries. They also are involved in helping the sick and shut-in and the elderly by raking yards, painting and doing other small jobs for them. They go to the nursing home and read Bible stories and sing to the residents. Their mission work gives them an opportunity to give to those less fortunate than themselves.
The Rev. Dallas Dykes, associate minister at First Baptist Church in Hinesville, is working with the youths of the church. According to Dora Sprinkel, church secretary, First Baptist has an active youth ministry.  
As of Saturday, 40 youths from Kentucky are spending the week at First Baptist.  
“They will assist with various projects around the church, and we will treat them to the Fourth of July festivities at Fort Stewart,” Sprinkel said.
The youths will also canvass the neighborhood and visit the water park at Jekyll Island.  
During the school year, First Baptist has an AWANA program for youths, and at the end of the school term, the church offers a Sizzlin Summer program on Wednesday evenings.
“We had a wonderful vacation Bible school,” said Sprinkel.  
The Rev. Marci Hannah, associate pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Hinesville, is in charge of its youths from sixth to 12th grades.  
“Our youths go to ‘The Gathering Place’ at Epworth by the Sea on Sunday nights. The children enjoy the incredible stage lights, music and guest speakers,” Hannah said. “We have children who are very involved in the church and school.  Jeremy Fermin won a scholarship and was the drum major at Liberty County High School, Lauren Faircloth is on tour this summer with Drum Corp International, based on Jacksonville.”
The Rev. Clint Brogdon serves as the youth minister and minister of music at Gum Branch Baptist Church and Brian and Tiffany Griggs are the youth leaders at Bethesda Church.  The Rev. Reginald Peggins is the youth minister at Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church.
It takes special people to work with children and show them the love and attention they often crave.  Children have a lot to offer, and need the necessary training and teaching  to help them become tomorrow’s giants. 
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