Where all are welcomed, loved and safe.
When school starts this month, First Priority clubs will begin regular meetings in 12 of the 13 middle and high schools in Cherokee County. Everyone is welcome, whether or not you are a Christian, all are loved, and all find a safe place to learn about life, leadership and Jesus. At First Priority, clubs are student led and initiated. The members focus on inspiring students to reach out to their teammates and classmates with a clear gospel message. Leadership believes that more lives will be transformed through relational evangelism, and that students are the best source of the good news for their friends.
“First Priority has been completely life-changing for me,” Kaitlyn Morris said. “It has taught me so much about leadership, and led me to grow in my faith as I never could have imagined! I have learned to be bold in my faith and to recognize the importance of reaching out to my fellow students. I am so thankful for Darin Peppers and the opportunity he has given me to lead at Cherokee High School and be involved in this amazing organization.”
As a juvenile probation officer, Peppers heard a still small voice whispering to his heart back in 1997: You are changing lives from the outside in, but I want you to start changing lives from the inside out. Soon after that, his mother and father-in-law introduced him to the national organization First Priority, in Birmingham. By 1998, he had become a full-time missionary for the organization. Currently, he is the executive director of First Priority of Metro Atlanta, which gained its nonprofit status in February 2012. To date, more than 1,700 students have accepted Christ, with the majority of these students in Cherokee County.
First Priority also has a Fish Club for elementary students. This fall, six Cherokee elementary schools will have clubs available for students. Recently, I had the privilege of being a guest speaker at my grand niece’s Fish Club at Oak Grove Elementary. It was a blast! I got to talk with them about how God is the potter and we are the clay. I brought some of my husband’s pottery and reminded them of five important truths we all need to hear: You are beautiful. You are wonderfully molded by God. You are created by God. You are known by God. You were created to be YOU! We played with clay and ate pizza, too. So fun!
Clubs meet before and after school. Darin said the biggest needs for First Priority are volunteers and business sponsors to provide students with breakfast, lunch and snacks. We consumed six boxes of pizza when I spoke at Oak Grove Elementary. He also said they would love to have club T-shirts. If you would like to get involved, visit www.fpmetroatlanta.org or contact Darin at 770-289-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Susan Browning Schulz, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mom of three grown children.