After 25 years of serving on staff in the local church, Larry Franks became the Executive Director of First Priority of Greater Decatur in November 2014. He served as the City Director for Greater Decatur for a number of years before coming on board as the Executive Director. His heart’s passion is to see students come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and for them to realize that there is HOPE. Larry has enjoyed watching God grow First Priority in Morgan and Lawrence counties from its beginning in 2009 on 18 campuses to currently being on 54 campuses. There have been over 4,800 students say YES to the HOPE of Christ on the public school campus over the last 9 years. Larry was recently awarded the Lynn C Fowler Non-Profit Professional of the Year by the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce. First Priority of Greater Decatur was also awarded the Non-Profit of the Year by the Decatur City School System. Clothe Our Kids received the Non-Profit of the Year by the Decatur City School System in 2019. Larry is married to Jessica (33 years) and has two daughters, Chelsea (27) and Hannah (21). He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and is an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.
First Priority clubs all over the nation have decided that school closures won’t stop them from sharing the gospel of Christ to their peers and beyond. As schools began to close, students began to step up, get on social media, and share beyond the limits of their school buildings. Students like Alaina in FP St. Louis Metro East. Listen to her two minute video of encouragement.
There are so many more videos and stories just like Alaina out there and they are reaching students for Christ! Like this one last week in Wake County, NC.
Carroll Middle had their First Priority club over zoom today and 1 student chose to pray to start a relationship with Jesus! There is no stopping our God!
Mark Roberts, FP Associate Director, shares in the video below how the local church can help students reach students for Christ. Listen to what he has to say and then click the button below his video for information how to get started.Find out more about starting a virtual club here
Greg is a lifetime Birmingham area resident and ministry leader. He has been on staff with First Priority since 1996 after volunteering with the ministry for several years. He has led First Priority movements both locally and nationally. Greg first served as a campus guide, and area director before serving as Executive Director and continues today as President overseeing fiduciary and ministry operations. He hosted Priority Talk, a daily Christian based radio show from 2010-2018, and has written for Birmingham Christian Family Magazine and frequently represents First Priority in the community in the media.
Greg received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in secondary education and a Master’s of Divinity from New Orleans Theological Seminary. Greg has been a popular speaker for many churches, camps and conferences for nearly three decades; in fact chances are that Greg has been to your church or campus!
Greg resides in Gardendale, Ala. with his wife Sandi, and two children, Trent and Meagan.
The saying, March comes in like a Lion is an understatement. I know it usually refers to weather, but the entrance of the coronavirus this month has certainly affected our nation like never before. People are panicking, and some are very afraid. Some of the stuff I have seen on social media is nuts, people wearing trash bags, spraying each other down with Lysol. It is funny, but to people who do not know the Lord, I am sure very scary. Brad reminded me that Jesus referred to people as sheep. Well, there you go, if you don’t have a shepherd to protect and lead you, you get scared.
I was headed today to a board meeting and was shocked at all the people I saw at Walmart and Sams Club, it’s like a hurricane down here, and what is up with everyone stocking up on toilet paper? Is there something I missed about the symptoms?
While driving, I had this thought; God is a God who takes something bad and turns it into His good. It always fascinates me when there is a tragedy. People stop their busy lives and chasing their dreams and remember that they are mortal and will die one day. In America, I am always reminded of what Jesus said about the rich. Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Most of you know this, but the eye of the needle was a small gate where people could walk through. A camel could go through it, but it had to get on its knees. The rich can know God, and there are millions that do. It is just harder because sometimes, with money, you don’t have to trust God as much.
Maybe the entrance of coronavirus into our world is something that might make people think about God, life, purpose, meaning, not just money or fame or what the world usually thinks about. Maybe they will think of bigger more important things. I have told you before we are due for a revival, and wouldn’t it be fun to see that happen? When your neighbors, friends, and family are frightened, you and I need to be the rock to them. Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” We can have peace because we know the Great Shepherd and we know His voice. To a world that is lost, we can’t act surprised and criticize. We have to give them hope. We need to love them in the midst of the chaos.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.
Dave Gibson has over 40 years of local, national, and international ministry leadership experience. He currently serves as Executive Director of Go2020 USA and Go2020 Global Leadership Team. Dave is the Senior Director of Missions & Evangelism at Grace Church of Eden Prairie, MN for over 30 years. Dave has also served as the Executive VP of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Executive Director of Mission America, and began in occupational ministry with Midwest Challenge.
Dave and his wife Wendy have 5 children and 7 grandchildren
Have you ever had something so exciting to share that you couldn’t wait for the world to find out? Is there anything that would keep you from telling everyone? As believers in Jesus, we have the most exciting news EVER and it is our job to tell everyone.
So, who do we tell the “Good News” to? In Mark 16:15, Jesus gives His final instructions to His disciples and to us, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” We tell EVERYONE! Your friends, family, enemies, teachers, and the outcasts. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” John 3:17.
So how do we start the conversation about Life & Death with the world? We have a help tool that can be found in month 9 of our hope guides that will help get the conversation started and help us share the Gospel with all creation, just as Jesus instructed. It’s the life/death card and you can download the instructions and card here.
Hayden has been around the world of ministry his whole life with an itinerant speaker and church leader for a father. Hayden felt a divine appointment to ministry his senior year of High School and has been involved on staff for multiple churches and ministries ever since. He has a beautiful wife named Shannon and has a lab mix named Zion. He loves Students and desires to see them use their gifts and talents to further the kingdom of God. His hobbies include trying new hobbies and doing basically anything but board games.
A story about loving others told by FP Director Amber Johansen from one of her clubs in FP Tampa Bay.
This past week, I visited a First Priority club in a local high school. In this particular group, they meet each week during the three lunches. In the first lunch, there were three students who were Buddhist and one whose father was Muslim. The other students began asking questions about their faiths and a wonderful conversation ensued. I was particularly struck by how graciously the First Priority students interacted with these students, showing genuine interest. They humbly answered questions about Christianity and eventually shared the hope of Christ in a loving way. It was touching and inspiring.
This group perfectly reflected Christ’s call on our lives: to love God and love others. May we all reflect the same humility, love, and faithfulness of these First Priority students.
Brad serves as our Director of Expansion. He spends most of his day working with the new FP coordinators, alongside Mark Roberts. Brad’s goal is to help local communities take the appropriate steps to create a spiritual movement around their middle and high schools. He has been in student ministry since 1997, served as a First Priority campus coach starting in 2001, and joined staff with FPOA in 2008. He helped get FP of the Great Plains (SD/IA) off the ground before moving his family to Nashville, TN to be strategic in his work with First Priority. Brad, with his wife Erika and four children attend Church of the City in Spring Hill.