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News for Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Students Minister on Day Off
By Connie Davis Bushey
news editor, Baptist and Reflector

DYERSBURG — Martin Luther King Day for most students is a vacation day from school. For students here, MLK Day was a day to serve.

About 300 students grades 6-12 ministered in various ways in their community on the federal holiday day which was Jan. 20. They also worshiped, heard a speaker, and had fellowship as part of the two-day Jerusalem Project of Dyer Baptist Association, based in Dyersburg.

The students were from about 16 churches in the association. Jerusalem Project has been held for 13 years.

“I think it is fitting that we do missions and service projects on Martin Luther King Weekend,” explained Stan Cavness, youth ministry coordinator for the association.

He added that leaders also were motivated by Acts 1:8, which states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Cavness also is Baptist Collegiate Ministries director, Dyersburg State Community College, Dyersburg; and pastor, Enon Baptist Church, Halls.

Joe Wright, director of missions, Dyer Association, came up with the original idea for Jerusalem Project to take advantage of the school vacation day.

Wright noted that Jerusalem Project “has become one of the best opportunities for young people to be involved in missions of all types within our association. We have had numerous youth over the years grow up and become youth leaders for the next generation of believers, ministers, and missionaries.

“We are excited to see what God will do through this generation of young people and the impact they will have on their world around them,” observed Wright.


13 years ago

Jerusalem Project started off the first year with 86 students from about five churches and it was just held on Monday. Though Dyer Association has 44 churches, explained Cavness, many are very small and have few students.

“It was really good the first time and so we have continued it,” he noted.

“We have expanded it and improved it over the years,” added Cavness. “It’s not always the same.”

His leadership at DSCC helps with Jerusalem Project because the Baptist Collegiate Ministries participants help staff the event with help from adult church members. He and Wright also plan ahead to help involve churches and their youth.

They start promoting Jerusalem Project at the annual meeting of the association in October where they include the schedule and needed forms in the Book of Reports which is distributed at the meeting. The schedule and forms also are posted on the association’s website for downloading.


Additional facts

This year Jerusalem Project saw about 30 students make professions of faith or other spiritual decisions following Sunday worship which featured Kent Shingleton of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff, who spoke. Shingleton also is pastor/church planter, Hope Fellowship Church, LaVergne.

This year’s theme was “Engage,” added Cavness, to help students “learn how to engage and share their faith with others,” he explained.

The Sunday event, which began at 4 p.m., at First Baptist Church, Newbern, also included break out sessions. One session included helps for students on how to mark their Bibles to guide them in leading a person to understand how to make a profession of faith in God. The students also were directed to the “More Life” App, which was developed by the TBC and is a guide which can be used on a smart phone for leading a person to make a commitment to God.

Additionally students learned how to share their testimonies and heard six of their peers share their testimonies in the large group session for all 300 youth, reported Cavness.

Besides Shingleton, a local praise band led the main session. A meal was provided by the men’s and women’s ministries of the association. Then students returned to their churches to spend the night and the next day participating in the projects planned by the churches.

The projects included cleaning houses for residents, renovation/repair of houses and churches, raking leaves for residents, building wheelchair ramps, and working in the clothing ministry of a church.

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