One of the great aspects of First Priority is the opportunity to meet leaders and pastors from different churches who can come together and join our mission, to take the Hope of Christ to students. In Indian River County, our network of pastors, club mentors and ministry partners are essential to the success of our clubs.
Jay Becker, the Youth Pastor at First Methodist Church of Vero Beach, has been a campus mentor for the past 4 years in Indian River County and we are extremely grateful for his dedication and faithfulness to First Priority. We recently interviewed Jay and asked him questions regarding all things ministry and how God has moved the hearts of students on campus.
How did you get involved with First Priority?
“Four years ago Joe Maldonado reached out to me, told me about First Priority, and asked me to get involved.”
What school are you mentoring?
“Storm Grove Middle School in Vero Beach.”
When did you start working in ministry?
“I started ministry in 2012 with Campus Crusade for Christ. Then God called my wife and I to Mississippi, then to Gainesville and now we are in Vero Beach. I am currently the Youth Pastor at First Methodist Church of Vero Beach.
How have you seen student ministry change after the pandemic in 2020?
“I actually took the job 6 months before the shut down and the change that I have seen is that more and more students are coming to the First Priority club because they are seeking a deeper connection with Christ rather than coming to the club simply because it is fun. Students are asking bigger questions about the world, they are curious and have depth.”
Our vision is to connect the church to reach the campus for Christ. How do you see the role of the church within FP and why is the involvement of a local church necessary?
“The fruit that I have seen more than anything is the development of student leaders. Students who are leaders on campus have become leaders at their own churches, this proves that the strategy of First Priority works because the club is student led and it encourages them to lead with boldness and confidence. First Priority also creates a runway from the church to campus. The campus is their “turf”, we meet them there and create a safe transition to the church. As a result of mentoring First Priority our youth ministry has grown as students get plugged during our “connect week”. Students come to our youth group and then families come to our Sunday service. Overall, First Priority is a discipleship tool that connects the church to campus and the campus to the church.”
What advice would you give to someone who would like to mentor a First Priority club?
“So often we get intimidated by kids, rejection, having small numbers, being too old and uncool but what I find is that students have the same needs as everyone else. They desire a listening ear and are looking for a sense of belonging. When you talk to students, show them you care and they will open up to you, it just takes time.”