DEWEY—When the last class of the day lets out on a Wednesday afternoon in Dewey, you might see more than 150 middle and high school students walking out the doors of the school straight toward the church doors only a block away.
That is a sight that still amazes Doug Miller, student minister at Dewey, First, which has experienced exponential growth over the last two years. Miller, who previously operated a construction company and coached various baseball, basketball and football players in the community, only recently felt the call to vocational ministry. Since Dewey, First Pastor Mark Wright and the congregation placed Miller in this role in 2012, more than 80 students have been baptized.
“The name of our ministry is IMPACT,” said Miller. “In 1 Cor. 15, Paul says he would not let the Grace of God in his life to go unnoticed. It’s pretty simple, God’s grace has had an impact on me, and I must make an ‘Impact.’ Students are looking for the answer, and we have it. JESUS! We have been amazed to see how open and receptive students are.
“They are ready to be loved. That is our number one goal in our ministry.”
Todd Lewis, a volunteer with the IMPACT youth group and member of Dewey, First, said, “God has grabbed a lot of kids by the heart (here at) IMPACT.”
Another student, Daniel, recently was saved and baptized.
“I was a bad kid,” he admitted. “I came on a Wednesday night to see a girl I liked, but God used it to change my life. This is the place I want to be.”
Miller’s wife, Brandi, who has seen countless students through years volunteering in student ministry, said the change in Daniel’s life was dramatic.
“His whole countenance changed. He is a different person,” she affirmed.
“You will face battles in life, but when you are in the circle of God’s will, you will be able to face them,” said Miller to the students, such as an 8th grader at Dewey Middle School named Kierra.
“I love the music here, and I like Doug’s preaching. One of my favorite times was at Falls Creek (last) summer,” she said.
Another student saved recently is Keaton, a 7th grader at Dewey Middle School.
“I have been coming to youth group for a year, and got saved here. I hope to start an after-school Bible study soon,” he said.
Keaton is one of the many students with whom Chris Russell, student ministry volunteer, has been ministering. Russell helps mentor the kids, play pickup basketball, operate the Audio/Visual and sound on Wednesday nights, and anything else he can.
“I asked Doug, ‘What do you need me to do? I’ll do whatever.’ That is the attitude I have about all of life. ‘God, where do You need me?’” he said.
“Many things came together as we have watched this miracle unfold,” said Wright. “Our faithful adults, especially senior adults, supported the building of new space, even before it was needed. The Lord raised up terrific leadership from our own congregation and gave us the wisdom to use them.
“God has faithfully provided resources needed for ministry and blessed us with a unity of spirit that not only endures the chaos of 200 youth and children, but joyfully praises Him for the blessing,” he said. “Our prayer is ‘Thank you Lord! All glory to Christ our Savior!”