Joseph Michael Yarbrough was elected student pastor of teenage, youth and young adults at First Baptist Church Arcadia in Arcadia, Fla., according to its pastor, the Rev. Richard Englert Jr.
Pastor Joe, as he is called, came from Hinesville. He also spent part of his childhood in Lakeland, Fla.
Yarbrough attended Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Fla., from which he received his Christian education Bachelor of Arts degree in May. Although he was not a music major, he participated in the Baptist College of Florida Male Chorale, which traveled the United States for three years.
During his time in Graceville, he served as a leader with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes with Baptist Assemble at Blue Springs Conference Center with students coming from the northwest Florida area.
During Yarbrough’s last semester at Baptist College, he received a call from First Baptist Church Arcadia about the position. Because of the vacancy of the position for several months, the student census had dropped. Yarbrough said he felt less concerned with the number of students than with the individual spiritual growth of the students. He said he was impressed with the behavior and desire to learn more about God’s word demonstrated by the students.
“They are awesome,” he said.
One of the deciding factors for Yarbrough accepting the position even though he had not first held a full-time youth pastor position was that Englert assured him that First Baptist Church was known for being a place where he would be loved and ministered to as he was ministering to the youth.
Yarbrough is engaged to Michelle Gorman of Lakeland, who also is a graduate of Baptist College of Florida. They plan to be married in November and will live in Arcadia.