rachaelHi, friend! For some time, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to share one of my all-time dearest friends with you. I’m excited to introduce to you The Grace Exchange’s guest blogger, Rachael French! She’s a dandy, and the WDBA is so very blessed to have her onboard as Associational Youth Director. Great opportunities for growth and service lie ahead for our students! Good for them!! Thank you, Rachael, for sharing yourself and your love for our students!

Hello Students, Parents, Youth Leaders, and all those who love Youth Ministry!

Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Rachael, and I am the Associational Youth Director for the Western District Baptist Association. I grew up in Big Sandy, TN, and graduated from Big Sandy High School in 2006. In 2010 and 2011, I received my Bachelors and Masters of Social Work from Union University in Jackson, TN. Then, I went off to the eastern hills of the state and obtained my law degree from UT Knoxville College of Law. A couple of years ago, I moved back home. Recently, Bro. Jim Twilbeck, our Associational Director, asked me to be the Associational Youth Director. Now, I am Super excited to be working with the youth and churches in this area!

I wanted to let you all know about some Awesome ideas that we have coming up for this next year. The second annual “Fields of Faith” event, sponsored by Henry County High School Fellowship of Christian Athletes should be coming up first near the end of August 2016. Shortly after that, on Wednesday, September 28th, will be SEE YOU AT THE POLE 2016. Come on out to your local schools that morning before school starts to pray for our schools, our students, and our nation. The theme this year is “WE CRY OUT: A generation seeking Him!” That night, we plan to have our annual SEE YOU AFTER THE POLE rally at the Krider Performing Arts Center (KPAC). That entire week, Sunday, September 25th through Saturday, October 1st, is our Global Week of Student Prayer. Coming up in October, we are hoping to have an Associational Corn Maze Adventure! All the association’s youth groups will be invited. Then, we take a break for the holidays to be thankful and to celebrate Jesus’ birthday

In February 2017, we are hoping to have an association-wide Discipleship Now (DNOW) weekend! Last year, Maplewood, Spring Hill, and Point Pleasant churches partnered together to host a really impactful and fun DNOW, and this year, we are trying to incorporate more churches that are interested. Later, during Henry County’s Spring Break week, March 17th-26th, we are hoping to give students an opportunity to grow in the Lord and serve our community by participating in “Missions Mania!” This project would send students throughout Henry and Benton Counties to do volunteer work to those in need. Then, on April 26th, we plan to have our annual Fish Fry Concert at the Fairgrounds.

We also have an opportunity for youth to serve overseas coming up this year. In the summer of 2017, the Association will take a group of youth to Guatemala. This group will consist of students who are serious about and committed to their walks with the Lord. The group will also have some stricter requirements and expectations than our other events, but we believe that God will use it as a life-changing experience for those who go!

I can’t wait to see how God wants to work this year in the Western District Baptist Association! If any of you have other youth ministry ideas that we could incorporate this coming year or if you would be willing to help with one or more of these projects, let us know. You can comment on this blog and EGM will coordinate our contact information. Please be patient with me in my response time, however, because I will be in Guatemala for the month of July

Thank you all for reading and I can’t wait to serve God with you in the future!

Love in Christ,

Rachael French