The Pastor of Brookhaven's St. James Missionary Baptist Church speaks about their move to involve younger church member in most aspects of their community in this week's "Faith in Focus".
On the Sunday WJTV NEWS CHANNEL 12 visited, the men's choir provided the music for the service.
Church leadership, however, said it's the teens in the audience that may shape what happens decades down the line at St. James.
"I feel whole. Like I used to feel not really complete. And once I came to church and learned more about the lord I find that I feel a lot better than I used to," 15-year-old Anthony Young said.
14-year-old Jai'kyra Owens spoke with us about the energy youths can inject into a church.
"Sometimes they'll be down and then I can come and just energize them and make them just feel happy about it. And then we can all get happy about it and it's ends up being a great time," Owens said.
Youth Program Direct Renard Dixon said early-life involvement is needed for kids not just in Brookhaven, but all over the world.
"Because kids, just as grownups know, kids are under a lot of pressure: different maybe home situations or bullying in school. They are under a lot of pressure and they need to know that someone loves them," Dixon said.
But The Reverend Larry Jointer said it is not just about engaging teenagers - but also looking to them for inspiration and asking them how they could improve this church community.
"We do focus on it. And tomorrow we will have a busload leaving going to the National Baptist Convention and there they will intermingle and interact with other churches from all over the country," Pastor Jointer said.
"When they come back we're expecting them to share what they've learned," Jointer said.
Owens and Young shared the different reasons why they like being involved.
"Cause it's fun because you have people your age to do it with you. And it's like it make you feel more comfortable while you're around them," Owens said.
"It's more to get us more involved in the church instead of, you know, out on the streets and instead of doing something wrong which is not of god - come to church and you will have something fun to do," Young said.
Pastor Jointer adds that once that door is open, love can drive faith and faith can drive love.
"When you see the earth, the world, still turning, tilt, shoots, and twirls and it has never been stopped to say we need to do an overhaul job on it, and knowing that a god could create that," Pastor Jointer started saying, continuing...
"When you see the sun come up without anybody speaking about it and it still manages to shine. And you see the stars in the sky and know nobody had to go up there and adjust them. When you think about a god like that he's got to be awesome," Pastor Jointer said.
"If you start off at a young age...," Young said, "...learning about god, once you get older it never leaves you. I mean, you might stray off of the path but, you know, eventually you'll come back."
St. James Missionary Baptist Church is one year away from it's Sesquicentennial (that's its 150th anniversary).
They also have a monthly service that is almost entirely youth-directed, further adding children into the mix.
If you would like the viewers of WJTV to learn more about your church community, contact Jacob Kittilstad at 601-664-8839 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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