Young volunteers deploy to help their church and neighbors

October 12th, 2017 / By: Morgan Collier / comments

MAURICEVILLE, TX – Younger generations are often considered lazy, self-centered and consumed by technology. However, in the midst of devastation, a group of students “showed up” for a south Texas church.

Due to Hurricane Harvey, First Baptist Church Mauriceville had anywhere from 18 inches to three feet of water in their auditorium and five surrounding buildings. With a community that fell victim to the flood waters, the number of adult volunteers were low, so junior high and high school students joined together to work in the weeks after Harvey.

“From a practical stand point, we needed the help and a lot of people were tied up with their own homes, or their family and friend's homes,” Kevin Brown, pastor of FBC Mauriceville said. “The youth were able to fill a gap and help with a great need.”

As a testament to God’s calling, Brown brings up 1 Timothy 4:12 as the apostle Paul say to Timothy, “let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”‬

“The idea that there has to be a generation gap is us sometimes accepting a societal construct, but it shouldn't be treated as a biblical construct.”

Kevin Brown, pastor of FBC Mauriceville

“We know that there has always been that gap, but there shouldn't be one in the body of Christ,” Brown said. “The idea that there has to be a generation gap is us sometimes accepting a societal construct, but it shouldn't be treated as a biblical construct.”

Through the help of 12 dedicated young adults, the church was able to have their first service the following Sunday after the storm.

"I decided to help out because my house was not affected by the rain," Luke Hanson, Little Cypress Mauriceville senior told the TEXAN. "Being a member of this church, I felt called to contribute to the body of believers and to Christ by my service through working at the church building."

Working from eight in the morning to five in the afternoon, groups of students helped pull sheetrock and carpet out of the buildings, along with handing out water and supplies to the members of the community.

"I believe that through our service, it is showing others that we truly love the people around us," LCM junior Caleb Weaver said.

Brown said the church has worked to grow their students by involving them in helping with other community events and projects in the past.

“There is an intentionality to this,” he said. “Sometimes we think of youth as another group of citizens in the kingdom, but we want them integrated in the whole body of Christ and the church. I believe that when you see youth working and serving alongside adults, something transformational happens, in which they grow spiritually.”

Hanson said he believes that God is moving throughout Orange County in a big way.

"I believe we, as in the churches, have started to grow stagnant in our outreach and this has jump started our presence in the communities," he said. "I believe God handed us all an entire county here and said, 'go minister and fulfill the Great Commission' and now it is our turn to listen and do the work in His name."

For Mauriceville Middle School eighth grader Kaitlyn Ewing, this is an experience unlike anything she has encountered before.

"This has taught me to stop thinking only of myself, but to think about all of the others that need our assistance and have lost everything," she said. "It's a humbling experience to be able to help not only the church, but also being able to hand out supplies, meals and water to people who come by."

Weaver said that as a role-model, he hopes that this service inspires other students to find ways to volunteer and assist the affected communities.

"Society has this view of teenagers as not being able to do anything without their cellphone or technology today and while technology is a nice aspect of my life, I didn't use any of it as I worked to clean out my church," Hanson said.

Brown said he hopes the youth grow from this experience and in future opportunities to come.

“I believe that people grow through service and I think that our youth enjoy it,” he said. “They enjoy not just being together having fun, but they enjoy the work and when it is all said and done they look back and say, 'I had a part in that.'”