Meeting needs with love

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 7, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

A growing number of youth are finding their church family at Southside Baptist Church.

The Rev. R. Stewart McCarter said the church provides many opportunities for its youngest members to express their feelings and talents.

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&uot;It’s an exciting time for them,&uot; he said. &uot;We want them to experience being on fire for God and they go on missions trips, and our Wednesday night cell groups are often their favorite experience.&uot;

The church can be a haven for teenagers today, McCarter said.

&uot;We see children today with so many influences like MTV, cars, disposable income and computers,&uot; said McCarter. &uot;In most cases, children have a lot of things but they also have parents who work, leaving them alone for long periods.

&uot;Also, some have only one parent and some live in a blended home with a parent remarried to another. The church is sometimes the only place where they can find sanctuary and love.&uot;

One of Southside’s youth members, Meghan Benson, the energetic 10-year-old daughter of Leslie and Jeff Benson, has found Southside’s Girls in Action program to be a great outlet.

&uot;We do a lot of things together,&uot; Meghan said. &uot;It’s just fun and I like helping others.

&uot;I like going to Southside because they really care about the children there.&uot;

McCarter applauded Youth Pastor Jon Rissmiller’s work with Southside’s young people.

&uot;And, he’s so dedicated, making sure that any adults who assist him also care about our youth,&uot; said the pastor. &uot;We have to reach this generation with the message of Jesus Christ and at Southside, we do all we can toward that goal.&uot;