Students are thinking, reacting, stressing, and praying during this pandemic. Everyone is talking about how students are coping right now, but is anyone listening to them? The Atlantic Union Conference Office of Education is listening and giving voice to our youth.
“NOW is an online video ministry led by the Atlantic Union academy students,” explains James Reid, Pine Tree Academy chaplain. “Through this evangelistic ministry, which has worldwide reach; students preach the Word, share testimonies, and praise the Lord through music. They do it to lead others to Christ.”
Academy chaplains from the seven senior academies are helping students speak of what they’re experiencing and their faith. Reid continues, “As an academy chaplain, I have been blessed and encouraged about the future as I work with students who will become ‘gospel workers.’ They are working now!” Teachers are counseled, “It is not enough to fill the minds of the youth with lessons of deep importance; they must learn to impart what they have received”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 545.
When students accept the call to share their faith online, it can be intimidating. The whole world can see their witness, not just family and friends, but our students have accepted that challenge. NOW provides opportunities for students to share their faith and, more importantly, for the truth of Jesus to spread faster and farther. Multilingual students are preparing episodes in English, Spanish, French, and Swahili.
In addition to the NOW videos, junior high students are getting involved by providing an audio podcast titled “The Jeremiah 29:11 Project.” Jerrell Gilkeson, Atlantic Union Conference education director, says, “This podcast contains short reflections on life and expresses their hope for a better future that God has promised. This makes for an interesting 10-15 minute discussion of their faith.” The Atlantic Union Teacher Bulletin, an online ministry from the Office of Education, hosts the NOW videos and the junior high podcasts that reach several hundred subscribers every month*.
As the academy and junior high students continue to reach our nation and our world, our students want their peers and even adults to share NOW and the podcasts with friends and family.
We encourage church members to continue to be good stewards of the youth God has given us. Let us prayerfully encourage them as they work to reach people searching for safety in these perilous times. Pastor Reid says, “It’s a privilege to work with our youth and usher them into their lifelong ministry in [whatever way] the Lord leads them.”