At the 2010 SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, the FBC Jax combined youth choirs and orchestra did a magnificent job at the convention. They sung and played very well - the music was top notch, not overly contemporary like some of the music at the convention. Jonathan Welch and the new guy did great in leading the youth.
After they sang and played, their pastor Mac Brunson made the following statement about the youth at the beginning of his sermon, complimenting them on their ability to share their faith:
Well, I understand the desire to drop names like Jerry Vines and Homer Lindsay at the convention, but really, I think the credit for the training of those young people doesn't go to Vines or Lindsay.
No way. It to goes to an entirely different set of folks, folks that Mac might have given credit to if he had more time to speak - so I'll take the opportunity here.
If anyone is going to be commended for helping to produce the quality of youth at FBC Jax, it goes to the youth ministers at FBC Jax: starting with Bob Barton and Calvin Carr whose service started way back in the 80s. These two guys poured their lives into the youth at FBC Jax for several decades, and established a youth ministry of excellence - emphasizing personal evangelism, teaching the kids how to share their testimony and the gospel. The successors of Barton and Carr - Dan Elkins and Chris Eppling seem to have done a solid job as well carring on their work.
It also goes to the hundreds of dedicated lay leaders and workers who work tirelessly with the youth. They teach Sunday School, go on camps, work in the youth music ministry Sunday and Wednesday nights - not getting a paycheck or wanting a paycheck and taking vacation time to serve - but doing it out of love for the kids and the Lord.
I'll never forget the two people at FBC Jax who I admire the most and served under for 7 years: Walt and Maggie Bowden, who have been 6th grade Sunday School directors for close to four decades. While the mega church pastors get the big pay checks and all the accolades and standing ovations, people like the Bowdens and others at FBC Jax will be the ones getting the applause of heaven when they arrive for their steadfast service and sacrifice all these years. Sure, no wealthy FBCJ donors are lining up to give them a land gift or free beach condo rent, and maybe they didn't get to sail down the Danube or go on any Holy Land trips...but they took different trips: their trips to Lake Yale and Hilliard ministering to youth the past 40 years surpass anything that a FBC Jax mega church pastor has done or will do for the kingdom.
Credit also goes to the hard-working parents who saw to it to get their kids in a top-notch ministry. Anyone who knows what it is to attend a downtown mega church, knows it is a committment to haul everyone down there 2 or 3 times a week, sometimes more, for all the special ministries the kids are involved in.
So I just wanted to set the record straight...and I think Jerry Vines would agree, and Homer would too if here were still here...don't pat them on the back for what the youth have accomplished or will accomplish for the Lord in Argentina...thank the unsung heros, the past and current youth ministers and dedicated lay workers and parents who have toiled for years in the youth ministry at FBC Jax.
Mega church pastors might not notice, but Jesus sure does.