Youth ministry is so important for young people to gather with fellow students in a safe environment. It’s a special time for them to learn about God’s love through teachings, study, and games that are harbored towards their understandings.
The Youth Ministry at Central has undergone several changes within the last few years. We’ve had some great leaders serving our students, along with parents and adult volunteers. Now, we are preparing to welcome a new Youth Ministry Intern, Gracie Ellis, for the summer of 2017.
Gracie is from Chattanooga, TN and is currently attending Carson-Newman University. She’s majoring in religious studies, with a focus in ministry and minoring in music. She’ll also be a senior this coming fall.
“I felt called to ministry in high school and ignored it. Then, in college, I had a pivotal change in my life. In sophomore year, I felt lost and asked God to show me in some way what He needed me to do. I was watching a sermon one Sunday morning online and felt this call that I needed to be doing this,” said Gracie.
As the youth intern, Gracie will be faced with some challenges. These incredible students have unfortunately dealt with some loss over the years. They’ve had to say hello and goodbye to some great youth leaders that have blessed them in different ways. However, Gracie wants these students to understand that they are so important to the Kingdom and that they are much stronger than they may know.
“Their voices in church are more important than they realize. I will always adopt what Paul says to Timothy: Don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young. Young people are just as capable of connecting with God in a strong way as any adult would. They have strong voices. Even though they have a lot to learn, they still need to be able to freely voice their opinions and questions without fear of judgment. I want them to be able to ask their questions about faith in order to grow without that fear of speaking up about their feelings,” said Gracie.
In addition to what past youth leaders have contributed the youth ministry, we are looking forward to what’s to come for a hopeful future. Gracie’s determination to help this youth group build up relies on the grace of God.
“...The church needs to do a better job of showing love. People tend to forget that God loves even the people that don’t recognize Him. He’s walking day to day with them as well...I don’t think Jesus wants us to force our beliefs on those who don’t want to hear it because he made a point that if we share the love of God where people just keep refusing to hear us out, we should just kick the dust off our shoes and keep moving forward. He sends us where we’re needed,” said Gracie.
Gracie’s love for Christ has allowed her to envision a new beginning for our students. Communication, fellowship, and discipleship work together to help people grow and connect in Christ’s love. Gracie hopes to help the students grow together and connect in a way they never have before by “strengthening communication between the group.”
“I [want] the youth to feel more connected with each other...My goal is to be a person that they can confide in and feel comfortable to come talk to on a Sunday morning….I don’t ever want them to feel like they don’t have someone to talk to on a Sunday morning because I want to be that person for them if they need it,” said Gracie.