Jeremy Carpenter: Teaching the Next Generation

Jeremy Carpenter: Teaching the Next Generation

Although he grew up a "pastor's kid," Jeremy Carpenter felt no desire to continue in a life of ministry as an adult. He pulled away from many of the things taught to him by his parents.

Jeremy Carpenter Several years later, after the birth of his son, he realized he needed to make some changes in his life. Soon, he felt led to become involved with the teen ministry at Bethany Baptist Church in St. Albans, WV.

His recognition of the growing lack of interest in the church by many teens was his call into the ministry and a catalyst that set him onto the road of biblical higher learning.

Jeremy is now the youth pastor at Bethany Baptist and a student in BBC's online Worldview Studies program. He plans to enroll in the Accelerated Graduate Degree program to receive his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Worldview Studies at the same time.

Teens are the generation that will be taking over our churches. Where better to affect the tide and direction of the church than with the youth that will one day "take over." I have always loved a good debate, and teens will challenge you on just about every level. I love helping them grow in their walk, while at the same time keeping my mind sharp.

Lack of control. That is most challenging thing about working with teens. It's like raising your own kids. Sometimes you just want to remove all their own thoughts and dump your years of experience into them so they don't make the same mistakes you have. Sometimes you just have to teach, pray, and then let God do work. This not only teaches me to rely on God more, it also teaches them to do the same. While I don't enjoy not having control of every situation, it sure keeps me on my knees before God.

What do I enjoy the most? The "little" things. Hearing a teen pray out loud for the first time. The stories of a successful opportunity to stand up for Christ. Seeing the change in thought and attitude in a teen truly on fire for Christ. The feeling that God is allowing me to make a positive impact on their future.

The Worldview Studies program has completely revolutionized the way I teach. Instead of Bible lessons saturated with me telling them what to do and how to live, I'm teaching them how to think for themselves. Instead of formal lessons with me doing all the speaking, I facilitate a conversational learning and growing experience through critical dialogue and thought. We cover not only practical Christian living, but deal with the real issues and various religions and worldviews they come in contact with on a daily basis in the halls of their schools.

My desire is student ministries, but I feel an increasing burden toward the teaching of students than everything that goes into the shepherding of them.

My worldview was severely underdeveloped before enrolling in the Worldview Studies program. I do not want the same for them. The church should be raising young adults with Christian worldviews that are already standing up to the pressures of the culture they engage for Christ.

I love online learning. The ability to choose what time I sit down to work on school is the only way I could have gone back to school while juggling work and ministry. The format is great, and there is always someone on staff to help me out with what I need. My online instructors have taken the time in my education in a way I wouldn't have expected in a "cold" online format.

I've personally found what I've learned in these courses to be invaluable, with reaching out to teens in the community, challenging their thoughts and beliefs, and also training students in my church and assisting them in developing their own Christian worldviews. It has truly changed how I interact with Christians and unbelievers alike.

You never would have convinced me I would make life friends through online education, but I really enjoy the relationships I've made with several students and the confidants I've found in a couple professors. They have shown an interest in my education in a personal way and have really added fuel to the fire to continue to learn. They are largely the reason I'm going to grad school. I would never have thought something more than an associate's degree was in store for me.

Interacting with my professors and fellow students is what I enjoy the most about my classes. Since I started school over a year ago, I wake up with it on my mind, wondering what the day holds in conversation, and miss it during the session breaks. Who would have thought I would look forward to school? Not me for sure.

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Posted on: 6/15/2012 12:34:41 PM

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