Archives For Next Gen

Volleyball for Jesus

LifePoint Church —  February 27, 2013 — Leave a comment

Early last summer, Reed Mitchell and Justin Theriot knew they had a large opportunity on their hands. Inspired by a Wednesday night message by R.C. Ford at LifePoint’s Stewarts Creek Campus, the two college students decided to put their heads together to figure out how to be more intentional with their faith.

Image credit: Taylor McBride

Image credit: Taylor McBride

“We had been playing volleyball all summer, in mine or Justin’s yard with neighborhood kids and other friends that we would invite,” Reed said. “Then one Wednesday night, R.C. was speaking about being intentional with whatever you do. What really stood out to me was when he said, ‘When you are hanging out with people who are not Christians, if you are not actively moving towards sharing the gospel with them, or sharing the gospel with them, then you are just wasting time.”

“I remember getting a call from Reed asking me to come over and talk,” said Justin. “One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I just can’t take having all these people over at my house to play volleyball, and knowing that some of them are going to Hell because they don’t know Jesus,’” he said.

“So we started brainstorming about ways to show these people Jesus rather than just telling them about it.” Justin said. “So we decided to not really have a Bible study or small group after our volleyball games, but just a time of fellowship and getting to know each other,” he said. “It started off where 8-10 people would stay, and we would talk…and eventually God would be brought up in conversation. It just turned into this type of ministry where Reed and I could just show love and invest in these students’ lives.”

What started as a ministry to 8-10 people began to grow rapidly. Initially, around 20 people would show for the games, with about half sticking around to talk afterwards. After four weeks, the word began to spread about this “volleyball ministry,” and the numbers grew into the sixties, with 30-40 students from all over Smyrna and Murfreesboro staying to talk about Christ after the games.

“It just started to grow and grow,” Justin said. “We went from having 5-on-5 games of volleyball, to having literally 80 kids show up for volleyball and fellowship afterwards. “We began to have guest speakers come and speak after the games or show Christian movies [on a projection screen].”

“It got to the point where we had too many people for just one person to talk to,” Reed said. “So I began to divide people up into small groups, making balanced groups of believers and non-believers, and just encourage them to talk about Christ and share their testimonies,” he said. “Leaders in those groups really stepped up and really invested in these people.”

“It grew into this weekly event that people were excited about, that was centered on Christ and sharing His love,” he said. “Lives were changed though God working there.”

One life that was changed through God working in this ministry was 18-year-old Joey Zelenak, who was invited to the event by two friends who had been attending regularly throughout the summer.

“My friends Kaitlyn and Kathryn told me about it,” Joey said. “The church thing wasn’t really my scene, but they made this sound fun, so I decided to give it a shot.”

The first night Joey attended, he was one of the students who stayed after the games and participated in the intentional conversations led by Justin, Reed, and the small group leaders.

“Honestly, I stayed because I didn’t have a ride to leave,” Joey recalled with a laugh. “But I was also curious and wanted to see what they had to say. I had never had spiritual conversations before, and I enjoyed it.”

Joey became a regular attendee of the volleyball nights, and was eventually invited to come to church by Justin. After his first Wednesday night at the Stewarts Creek campus, Joey knew that it was the place for him.

“It was very different than any church experience I’d had before,” he said. “The songs were very engaging, which I really liked. I also liked that the message because I could relate to it.”

After his third Wednesday at church, Joey made the decision to follow Christ.

“I just got really pumped about it,” he said. “It just hit me and I knew it was right. I just had this want for more and more knowledge about Christ. I just knew it was right.”

Since becoming a Christ follower, Joey has joined the student worship team at Stewarts Creek, playing electric guitar and leading students in worship every Wednesday night.

After seeing the effects of Reed and Justin’s intentional faith, Joey has developed a similar desire to spread the truth of God’s word among his peers.

“Right now all my friends and people I hang out with are my church family,” he said. “But I promise, when I make new friends, I will be inviting them to church. I will definitely be inviting them.”

Joey was baptized on January 20, 2013. You can watch his baptism video below.

Unleashed 2013

LifePoint Church —  February 21, 2013 — Leave a comment

Our middle school and high school students are a busy generation. It seems that more than ever teenagers are stretched in so many different directions—sports, school, family, work, etc. Too often so many of us journey through life on cruise control, not understanding the true meaning of why we exist. We ask questions like, “Are we here on this earth just to be busy?” “Is our purpose to live in a big house and make a ton of money?” ”Is the meaning of our lives to simply seek the approval of others and be chained to the world’s expectations?”


This past Wednesday, nearly 1,000 middle and high school students gathered together from both our Smyrna and Stewarts Creek campuses to hear how they could beunleashed from what holds them back. As students gathered for our outreach event, UNLEASHED, Christian rap artist Trip Lee was featured, and the Gospel was presented to an auditorium full of teenagers.

UNLEASHED was a true testament to our awesome volunteers living “Beyond Sunday.” We could not have pulled it off without the help of over 140 small group leaders and college students. These volunteers helped in so many ways: running registration, counseling students, cleaning up afterwards, etc. These volunteers are at the core of everything that we do in student ministry. We are so grateful for all of the wonderful people who came together to make this event a success!


Over 250 students came to LifePoint for the very first time. It was awesome to see students who regularly attend LifePoint on Wednesdays invest in their friends lives and invite them to hear how they can experience true life in Jesus. Over 150 students made decisions to take a step in their relationship with Jesus in salvation, baptism and/or recommitment.

We thank God for an incredible church that supports, prays, and points students to what a Christ-centered life is all about!

LifePoint Students is a great and exciting ministry where you can serve and have a huge impact in the lives of students. To take a next step in serving, fill out our Serve Form.

Post by Dustin Dozier, LifePoint High School and College Pastor. Dustin has a great vision to see students running after Christ with everything they have so that they can be a light in this world. Dustin is married to Sloan, and they have three fun, energetic sons- Zion, Triumphant, and Noah. You can connect with Dustin on Twitter and Facebook.


A Birthday Gift

LifePoint Church —  February 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

LifePoint Preschool

In Preschool Ministry, our main focus is building the foundation of biblical truths by applying three bottom lines to everything we do:

  • God loves me,
  • God made me
  • Jesus wants to be my forever friend

In order to apply those three bottom lines in our 3 Year-old thru PreK classrooms, we have implemented small groups. Not only are the kids getting more focused and intentional discussion time, but they are also building relationships with their small group leaders. A small group leader in LP Preschool is someone who, in addition to their parents, is able to show the love of Christ to these kiddos.

Recently, a parent told me how their child’s small group leader is making a difference in not only their child’s life, but her as well. The mom began by sharing with me that her son had a birthday in January. The small group leader gave the child a Veggies Tales movie for a birthday gift on the Sunday following his birthday. The parent pursued me to share how impressed they were by the show of love from their son’s small group leader. Parents do not expect their child to receive a gift from a Sunday morning volunteer. This parent was so overwhelmed with joy for her son. He was able to come to church and enjoy learning about Christ. The mom is being impacted because this is something that she never felt when attending her church growing up. A sweet gesture from a small group leader is making such an impact on the parent. This sweet story reminded me of why we do small groups with our kids. We want every child and parent to feel the love of Christ when they attend church. Small group leaders are fulfilling this every week in LP Preschool.

LifePoint Preschool is an exciting and fulfilling ministry area where you can serve and making an impact in the lives of precious little ones and their parents. To take a next step in serving, fill out our Serve Form.

Post by Amber Morton, LifePoint Preschool Director. Amber is a great picture of the vision of our Next Gen ministries, pointing children and students to a Christ-centered life to make an impact on the world. Amber has been a part of the LifePoint faith family from her childhood. Once a part of our Next Gen ministries, she now leads a great team of leaders and volunteers to help others grow in their faith. Amber is married to Justin, and they have their own sweet little preschool just arrived this past year. You can connect with Amber on Twitter and Facebook.

Elevate was different this year, but in a good way, said LifePoint Kids Director Brigid Waring.

“We had unbelieveable numbers, way bigger than last year, but what I really loved was that we had so many fifth graders! We really hit a home run!”

She emphasized how important it is to get these third- through fifth-graders ready for the upcoming challenges of middle school, and the way it will affect them spiritually.

Elevate 2013

Brigid said one of the best things about Elevate was the way the kids really learned to worship. Michael Reed led the student ministry band and was “just phenomenal in the way he related to the kids.” He helped them realize what worship is: not just singing and praising on Sundays and Wednesdays, but how we live our lives day to day, minute to minute, Brigid said. “It made them see worship in a different way.”

Middle School Pastor Matt Stout also was able to talk with the kids, especially the 64 fifth graders, about their upcoming transition. “That’s huge,” Brigid said. “It was the best of both worlds. A partnering of both ministries” for the kids.

The topic of the weekend was friendship, and the kids learned that Jesus is not only our role model, he is our best friend. Brigid hopes the kids came away with the understanding that it ultimately doesn’t matter what their parents or their small group leader believe, it really matters what THEY believe in their hearts about their relationship with Jesus.

Get Messy

LifePoint Church —  February 1, 2013 — 2 Comments

Get Messy - PeaceWhen sin entered the world so long ago in that magnificent garden, a deep chasm was created between us and our loving Father. Despite the separation he felt, God still loved us and longed for that relationship to be restored. God showed that he cared about peace in our relationship with Him when he sent His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

That was the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate act of peace and it was messy. In this crazy, broken world, we are often on a search for peace. Some days we want to crawl in a quiet corner of the room and take a deep breath, escaping from the hectic lifestyles we lead. God wants us to have peace in our life and in our relationships.

God’s Word says in Romans 14:19, “So let us do all we can to live in peace. And let us work hard to build each other up.”

I have a sister who is four years younger than me. Our personalities are so completely different we often wonder how we ended with the same parents. I never realized that two people from the same family could be so completely different, until I had kids of my own. Needless to say, the differences between my sister and I caused terrible fights and strained our relationship. On an occasion or two, I can even remember some hair pulling. Those fights are the most unpleasant memories of my childhood. However, my sister and I have both found the peace of knowing Christ and have become great friends. We still disagree but not on the same level as when we were kids. We have learned to prove we care more about each other than winning an argument. God wants us to have peace in our relationships. He wants us to walk away from an argument whether it’s with our boss, spouse or kids.

He wants each of us to let go of “what’s fair” and teach our kids this principal. He wants our families to prove we care about others by becoming part of the solution in our schools, workplaces, churches, sports teams and any other place we can make an impact. It is through these actions that people will recognize we are different; giving us a chance to share the love of Christ with them. Taking time and effort to uphold peace in our relationships is messy. It’s hard. Like Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, it will cost us something. But, it’s ultimately what God wants us to do. So get to it and “get messy.”

Each month in LifePoint Kids, leaders point K-5th graders to a Christ-centered life through a virtue found throughout the Bible. These principles help each child grow in wisdom and stature just like Jesus. February’s focus in LifePoint Kids is Peace, you can find more here. You can also find Family Devotionals to carry home the virtue through the week under the ‘Connect’ section in LifePoint’s iOS and Android apps.

Post by Heidi Binder, LifePoint Kids Director at our Stewarts Creek Campus. Heidi brings a contagious energy to pointing kids to Jesus. You can connect Heidi through Facebook.