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Local FP Communities

Praying over our Schools

By | Nehemiah, Local FP Communities | No Comments

Haley Wherry, FP Director of Blue Ridge

Whether school for you starts on August 10 or September 10, the school year is quickly approaching. One thing that we can all do to kick the year off to a good start for our schools is to pray. In Tennessee, the state government made a law that the weekend before school starts is to be the ‘Weekend of Prayer Over Students’. We use that law (that doesn’t do much) as an excuse to rally parents, teachers, and area churches to set a day/time that weekend to pray together. We want to encourage you as well to find ways to be praying for your schools, students, teachers and administration. Click the image to listen to Haley Wherry, FP Director of Blue Ridge talk about the 2019 Tennessee weekend of prayer.

God calls us to pray. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  We want to constantly be in prayer for these students who are the leaders of our future. It is our job to support and encourage them to be who God has called them to be.

A Principal is thankful for the FP Club at his school!

By | Local FP Communities, FP Success Story | No Comments

At a recent First Priority meeting in the biggest school in our region (FP Blue Ridge, TN), a sophomore girl visited the club for the first time. No one knew her. She saw students preparing to go out onto the campus with gospel surveys. She approached and asked what was going on. A freshman leader told her about First Priority and she said she is seeking Christian fellowship because her friends are bringing her down and driving her from God. She claimed to be a Christian and went evangelizing with the team.

When she returned to the room we were debriefing about the experience. She suddenly went into a violent seizure and fell face first into a table leg, busting her cheek and leaving a gash in her scalp. I jumped around the table, pulled her out and determined she wasn’t bleeding to death or choking on her tongue. She seized for at least 6 minutes, while the school officials came running in and EMTs arrived.

We prayed over her, cleaned up and stayed with her until she was taken away by the ambulance. She had mentioned where she went to church, so I was able to contact her youth pastor who knew her as a former attendee. The youth pastor visited her in the hospital and let me know she went home that night with stitches.

She was back at school with a black eye and stitches and showed up at the First Priority meeting. She went evangelizing again with the team. When the meeting was over, she remained behind and approached me and another Campus Coach and asked “How do I find friends?” We encouraged her and gave her advice on that question and several others, encouraging her to get involved at her church and hang with people that lift her up, not tear her down. It was an opportunity to speak into a student we would never have met outside of First Priority.

Later that day I went to the principal at the high school. When he saw me, he said, “I’m glad you are here…I need to talk to you about an email I received yesterday regarding First Priority.” He then told me that the mother had emailed him a lengthy message. He said her main point for the email was that her daughter’s favorite class was First Priority (she must not know it’s a club), that her daughter couldn’t stop taking about it, and the mother wanted to ask the principal if he could assure that she could attend that class next school year.

He said her email was a testimony to the value of First Priority on his campus. I assured him it was a testimony to the student leaders who are loving on this student and the whole student body. He then said, “Most people outside of these walls only hear about the bad things that go on here. But, there are good things happening here and First Priority is one of them.”

Check out what is happening in Bristol, TN

By | Local FP Communities | No Comments

Scott Emerine Bristol Area Director was invited to speak today at Vance Middle School. Students will be altering the HOPE cycle to have Engage weeks to finish out the year and they will be sharing the Gospel using their testimony worksheets and the First Priority Blue Ridge provided Bibles from First Priority of America. We are extremely proud of how innovative and creative students are and how churches are partnering with the student missionaries to empower them.

How Layton uses her time in school as a role model

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders | No Comments

In this video, Layton, a student in NC, shares her story of how she has become a role model in her school by making a public profession of faith in Christ through baptism. It has made her a role model where she gets the opportunity to be asked questions about God in school.

This video is from FP Greater Clayton
Joel Rowland, Director

Two growing First Priority movements bring in new leadership!

By | Local FP Communities | No Comments

Justin Theriot is a dad of three, husband to one great lady, and friend to a bunch of us! Justin TheriotTo our benefit, he is also our FPGN Rutherford County Director in the FP Greater Nashville chapter. He has been mostly volunteer up until the turn of the calendar year. Today, Justin is serving part-time, overseeing the 11+ schools with First Priority clubs in Rutherford County and it continues to grow. He has a potential to see 23 schools have a First Priority club in his county. He is passionate about the Hope of Christ in every student and is working tirelessly to get there! We are grateful that he has joined the team in the First Priority Nashville movement!

The turn of the calendar year has seen the intensity of the First Priority movement in Birmingham increase under the leadership of Greg Davis as President.bham leader meeting Greg brought his staff down to Fort Lauderdale at the end of 2018 to see how FP South Florida staffs and structures their growing 234 club chapter. Below you see old and new leadership in the Birmingham chapter getting fed physically and spiritually by Greg.

These are exciting times to be a part of the First Priority family! If it is time to get a club going in your community, start today! If the school down the street is calling, let’s get together and help unite the local churches to see students reach students in all the schools of your community.

God is moving in North Alabama

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders | No Comments
The other day I went and visited a club @Elkmont HS. It was Prepare week for this club and instead of 2-3 students sharing their testimony, they decided to use the “Faith Story”guide in the HOPE manual. They split up into small groups; girls with girls and guys with guys. As I listened, I heard one of the Senior guys who helps lead the club, give an example by sharing his faith story. The majority of his group were underclassmen. When Jacob shared how God helped him in his struggles it moved one of the young men to pull Jacob aside and talk to him. He shared that he was in a similar situation and that he too wanted a faith story of his own. He wanted to know God the way Jacob does. Jacob did not preach to them or condemn them. He simply shared his story with them and then God drew this young man to Himself. In that moment, all of heaven rejoiced! We rejoice too!  Please pray for our students, teachers, parents, administrators and campus coaches across Colbert, Lauderdale, Limestone and Madison public schools. God is alive! He is doing a great work in our region. If you have questions about how to be a part of what God is doing message me.
Casey Jones
FP Director North Alabama


The Benefit of Being Faithful

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders, FP Success Story | No Comments

Do you often wonder if faithfulness really pays off? In a culture built on immediate satisfaction and the pursuit of comfort, it seems to be a value that has fallen by the wayside. But, among God’s people, it is a virtue worth guarding and worth displaying.

Many students come to mind when considering this, but one in particular stands out to me. She wanted to launch a First Priority group at her school last year, but had little support going in. In fact, there were many weeks (and months), when she and one other student were the only ones in the meetings. This did not shake her, though. She continued to pray, to attend the weekly meetings, and to invite friends. There was not a time that she faltered or questioned her calling. Her faith amazed my staff and me.

Then, the group began to grow and last week they had their biggest turnout. As she described it: “this is truly God’s group; a safe place for students to come into and grow in relationship with him.” Wow, what a wonderful example of faithfulness and God’s willingness to provide.

It is my prayer that First Priority will always be a place where students find their purpose, remain steadfast in their faith, and faithfully share the hope of Christ with others.

Blessings Abundant,

Amber Johansen
Executive Director, FP Tampa


The Best Day Ever

By | Local FP Communities, Student Leaders, FP Success Story | No Comments

Last week we talked about letting students lead. Sometimes, leading can be something simple. It doesn’t always have to be someone standing up in front speaking. Students can lead by being a good example to those around them or simply sharing something with someone just like this middle school student did in Birmingham, AL. Read this testimony of a middle school student who had the best day ever!

Testimony – “It was 7th period and my science teacher had asked us to take out our books and read for the rest of class. My fellow table partner could be a helpful type but was the kind of person that would slip up from time to time as any human, but I was recognizing a pattern. Homework, incomplete. Words, unkind. Character, unhappy. So as you would have guessed, he didn’t have a book. So he asked me to borrow one from my, “library”. I browsed through and carelessly handed him the book, “The Biggest Story”. I thought he might enjoy it because of all the art in it. He yanked it from my hands and ran his fingers through the pages. By the end of the class he had finished the book and was overjoyed during 8th. He was full of happiness and wouldn’t stop telling me about the book. It made him smile and it made me happy. The next morning, we had a guest speaker in our First Priority club and there was a special person that I had never seen in any Christian club, and he was from my 7th period. Can you guess who it was? Yes! The boy from 7th period! He came up to me later during class and told me that he had become a Christian that morning. It was the best day ever!”- Student, Berry Middle School


By | Local FP Communities, Church Leaders, Community Leaders | No Comments

I don’t mean to start with the obvious or to be too simple, but the way we think affects the way that we see the world and ultimately how we act each and every day. So, we begin here.

  • We hear people say that culture is ‘so bad’, and we agree with that sentiment. But let’s look at it as an opportunity. The pendulum of our culture always swings from spiritual depravity to spiritual awaking. If you have studied revivals in the past, we are due to see one happen. What an opportunity we have to be a catalyst of this next revival!
  • There are more students who identify themselves as Christians than identify with any other group in the school building on any given day. At least we think so. There is not a poll that has been taken on this. Especially since there are so many privacy laws in place around minors and around the school system today. But, we feel that many still would check that box should they get the multiple choice. Maybe 25% of the students would feel this way? Unless you are a part of a small rural school with 100 students total and the band has 26 of those students in it. Then there would be more band members. That said, in a small rural school, there is a greater chance of there being upwards of 80% of the students who call themselves Christian with some 71% of U.S. adults considering themselves Christian in 2019.

Either way, we are convinced that one of the largest groups on school campuses are Christian students. The problem is they are not organized. The school system helps organize the football team. They buy equipment, hire coaches and give the players a place to practice and play. The same is true with the band and other sanctioned organizations on campus. What if we organized the Christian students? Would that not be a game changer? Would that not change student ministry in your community? Would that be worth asking God to use you to help organize and unite the body of Christ in the middle and high schools of your community?

Why say all this? Cause there are more Christians for your students to partner with at school than just those that go to your student ministry. Think about the implications of a united Christian student-led movement at school.

Which naturally leads to thinking about the bigger picture in your community.  What would happen if the student ministry leaders in your community knew each other, trusted each other, and worked together at school for the common ground of building the Kingdom of Christ.

This is Exciting!

By | Nehemiah, Local FP Communities | No Comments
We received the email below from a new club that launched this year and we just had to share it!

“I know I recently sent you an email but I just had to send another one after experiencing the launch of First Priority this morning at our school.” This group took jumping multiple hurdles to begin! It started the first time 6-8 weeks ago. Everything seemed to be moving along, but it was quickly shut down by the administration. There was confusion of what First Priority really was. After much parent and student involvement, conferences with staff and emails, today finally arrived as our new official launch. The leader team is 5 7th grade girls and their faith will inspire yours in minutes! They are oozing with excitement for the Lord and preparing days in advance. (Something quite notable with their younger age!) It is the only group that is meeting before school and at 7:15am! But that did not stop students from coming. 47 students came this morning!! They had to borrow chairs from the other teacher’s classrooms next door.  It is the first meeting and we are at our max! We will look into meeting in the media center next. The teacher host told me she was up at 4am praying over this meeting. The director of FCA is supporting First Priority by graciously sponsoring all of the donuts this year. Today he met me in the parking lot at 7am with 48 donuts and two boxes of donut holes. While picking up the donuts, he strikes up a conversation with someone who just so happens to be a past substitute teacher for our school and he tells him that he has been praying over that school to experience God. I am so amazed at what God is doing here!

The girls opened the meeting reading about love from 1st Corinthians and shared that THIS is how God loves us. Then they went around the room and every single person gave a suggestion of what loving others could look like on their school campus. I was speechless. It was so beautiful. Afterwards, a student said, “Wow, that was so soothing.” Next week, we are going to jump right in to Engage week and let a male student share his faith story. Apparently, it is an amazing story and he is excited to share it. He will be moving soon, so we are changing things up a bit to give him the chance to speak.

Please be praying over this student and the gal who will share the Gospel afterwards.

Wow! God is moving. What an incredible story of faithfulness. Be encouraged and know that God can move where you are too!