The Rev. Billy Price has only been in town for three months, and he’s already led the youth at Beaver Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church on a mission trip. But there were no lengthy drives or exotic locales on the agenda. The church youth elected to stay right here in East Tennessee this summer and serve the needs of the community.
For Price, who hails from Memphis, the “staycation” mission trip helped acquaint him with the community, but it also served as an eye-opener for the church youth.
“As a new youth pastor, I’m jumping in trying to continue with what the youth are already used to and finding new ways to get involved,” he said. “I think it’s healthy for the youth. We often think that ministry has to happen far away, but trips like this open our eyes to the stuff we’ve been surrounded by this whole time.”
Price said church member Tommy Halcomb helped coordinate the service projects the youth group took on the week of July 9-14. They did landscaping work for an elderly Powell woman whose house had been broken into several times, painted her house and added a new, sturdier door. They sorted donations at the Love Kitchen, distributed food donations with Second Harvest Food Bank and Lost Sheep Ministries, participated in the Under the Bridge ministry and spend a morning with residents at Oakwood Senior Living. They did landscaping work and spent time with the kids at two Boys and Girls Clubs locally, too.
In the evenings, it was back to the church, where the students and chaperones stayed overnight, for Bible study and food provided by Sunday school classes.
“My hope is that some of them, it might spark in them a desire to stay involved with some of these ministries,” Price said.
On Friday, the youth group wrapped up the week with a day tubing and cooking out in Townsend.
In his short time at the church, Price is already happy he came to Beaver Creek. He’d heard about the church for years as one with an active youth group. When previous youth pastor the Rev. Patrick Wilkerson decided to go into the mission field, he reached out to Price about the position.
“I love it,” said Price. “This is a church where everyone that’s involved seems to absolutely enjoy being involved. The church supports the youth group and shows young people that they value them. They care about their youth and it shows.”
The Beaver Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church youth group will start regular meetings again after summer break. Meetings are Wednesday evenings starting Aug. 16.