FBC Vanzant youth honor vets with special ceremony
December 22, 2004
VANZANT – The youth group of First Baptist Church, Vanzant, honored 24 veterans from Douglas County and the surrounding area Nov. 12 by hosting a dinner and a ceremony to remember their military service to America.
Matt Ballard, pastor, First Vanzant, said he is pleased by the example that the 11-member youth group has set. Vanzant is a community of about 40 people in the Mark Twain National Forest. Average church attendance at First Vanzant is 20 in Sunday School and 28 in worship. By welcoming the veterans to the church for a special evening, the youth performed a wonderful act of community service, according to the pastor.
“The elders and the youth of a church can come together for the glory of God, to help lift one another up,” Ballard said. “I hope that the lesson learned here is one that will help end the stereotypic view of youth groups that sometimes get labeled or even alienated from the church because of such age differences between elders and the youth of today, because the youth of today need to respect the wisdom and experience of the elders. This wisdom and experience of the elders is so valuable to help the youth not only grow in Christian maturity but help in overcoming the worldly influence today.
“By tapping into these raw resources of the wisdom and experience of the elders, and the fresh energy and motivation of the youth, local churches will naturally become stronger and healthier, with growth to follow.”
Army Lt. Gen. James Graham presented awards provided by the U.S. National Defense Force Support Command to the veterans. He also presented the members of the youth group with certificates of appreciation.
“The appreciation the youth received from the community and the veterans just added to their motivation, showing them that there is a way to bridge the gap of elders and youth,” Ballard said.