Middle School FL Electives

RYM Middle School Florida Electives


1. Life After Life After Death
Joe Deegan  |  Music Resources Coordinator  |  RYM  |  Houston, TX
No, that’s not a typo; it’s the actual title of the class. For years human beings have pondered the question, “Is there life after death?” Christians have said yes but have sometimes oversimplified it by saying, “Believers go to heaven; non-believers go to hell. End of story.” Is that really the end of the story? Could it be that the Bible teaches us there’s more? Could it be that there is a life after life after death? The answer is yes! The resurrection wasn’t just a really cool miracle that Jesus performed on himself. It was actually the beginning of a revolution. It was the deep magic, as C.S. Lewis said, that would cause death itself to start working in reverse. It is the promise of a hope that we hold fast to—a hope that one day Jesus will come back and bring heaven with him, down to earth, where we will live in the light of his glory and in the wake of his resurrection forever and ever. If this is true, then oh man, do we have a lot to look forward to! And I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I do too…so let’s talk about it. 
Joe grew up in the small town of Tuscumbia, AL near the banks of the Tennessee River. He started playing guitar when he was 15 on a cheap, old fender he borrowed from a friend. A year later, he started banging around the old piano that sat in his living room. He fell in love with both and quickly discovered he had more of an interest in music than he realized. Joe found ways to play for churches and gatherings and friends throughout high school and college until he moved to Houston, TX to work as a youth pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church. He has since found a home in Houston with his wife Leah and his three kids Ellie, Sam, and Will and joins the RYM staff as the Music Resources Coordinator. Joe wrote and recorded his debut album in March of 2015 called "The Risen King," an eleven song project that tells the story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Joe's second album "Cover and Title Page" is now available too.

2. Paralyzed by Doubt
How Can I Have the Assurance of Salvation?

Joey Stewart  |  CEO  |  RYM  |  Signal Mountain, TN
The most miserable person in the world is the one who doubts the certainty of his/her salvation. “Am I really a Christian?” “Can I be sure that God has saved me?” “Is it possible for me to lose my salvation?” “Is there really forgiveness when I keep struggling with the same sin over and over again, and it seems like I just can’t give it up?” If you’ve ever asked any or all of those questions, if your doubts are haunting you to the point that you feel spiritually paralyzed, if you want to know the true freedom and confidence that the gospel DOES provide, then this class is for you. Come and join us as we seek to “make our calling & election SURE.”

Joey graduated from the University of Mississippi with a BA in Psychology where he also became heavily involved in the ministry of Reformed University Fellowship. After college he attended Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1992.
After spending several summers ministering to youth at camps such as Alpine Camp for Boys in Mentone, AL and Twin Lakes Camp in Florence, MS, he became the Director of Youth and Educational Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in Yazoo City, MS where he ministered for nearly 5 years.
In 1993, he accepted a call to become the Assistant Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Crossville, TN with the responsibility of planting a PCA church in Cookeville, TN. Grace Presbyterian Mission was immediately formed and he remained in Cookeville as the Organizing Pastor and later Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, PCA for 14 years. He then accepted a call in February of 2007 to become the Executive Director of RYM. Joey has served as a member of the RYM Board of Directors since 1990 and possesses a resolute zeal and passion to serve the church through the expanding mission of RYM.
Joey is married to the beautiful Connie Cawthorn and together they have four children: Ashley Grace (Wilkinson), Joseph Wesley, Hannah Faith and Jennifer Cawthorn.

3. The BODY of Believers
A Theology of the Body & Exercise

John Perritt  |  Director of Resources  |  RYM  |  Ridgeland, MS
We live in a world that is focused on the human body. In fact, it’s impossible to make it through one day without seeing some image of a human body. Whether it’s on Instagram, the magazines we see in the checkout line, or the body we see in the mirror – we are flooded with varying images of body types. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also being taught by these images. The world is often telling us our bodies should look a certain way. For the Christian, we need to know that the Bible is not silent on this issue. We also need to know that there may be some ways we agree with the world. That said, there are ways we need to challenge the world’s view of the body. What is the body? How are Christians supposed to view their bodies? How do believers take care of their bodies? Should we be concerned with our physical appearance? This is a class that will assist students in a theology of the body and how we should care for the body God has given to us.
John Perritt (MDiv RTS ’09 & DMin SBTS ’16) served in youth ministry at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church for over 12 years. Prior to that, he served in youth ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, MS. He published Your Days Are Numbered (2016) & What Would Judas Do? (2017). He has also published articles with The Gospel Coalition and Desiring God. He and his wife, Ashleigh, have five children and live in Ridgeland, MS.

4. Double Vision
When Worldviews Collide

Kurt Cooper  |  Minister to Youth  |  Trinity Presbyterian Church  |  Montgomery, AL
You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both). The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2,000. The second option is ten minutes on the moon. Which option do you select? Why? There’s no wrong answer here, just an opportunity to see how you (and your friends) view the world. How you answer this question – and many others – depends on your worldview. What do you value? What is important to you? In this elective we’ll try to figure out how God views the world and how He wants us to view it as well. 
Kurt was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but calls Tupelo, Mississippi, his hometown. He is married to Marty, also from Tupelo, and they have one son, Campbell. Kurt received a B.A. in business administration from Mississippi State University, and his M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary. He serves as the Minster to Youth at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, AL.

5. Walking with God when Life Hurts
Matthew Icard  |  Pastor of Youth & Families  |  Clemson Presbyterian Church  |  Clemson, SC
Life in a fallen world is…well…hard. You experience confusion, loss, or disappointment every single day. You get a stain on your favorite shirt, you fail the quiz, or you don’t make the team. And that’s just a “normal” day. What do you do when life gets real? What do say when your mom or dad loses their job? Where do you turn when you endure rejection or get made fun of again and again and again? How are you supposed to feel when your grandma dies? And where is God in the middle of all that stuff? Join us in this elective as we discuss the answers to these questions and look at the way that Jesus deals with sorrow, grief, and pain. 
Matthew loves plain poundcake, live music, old books, khaki shorts, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. He also loves working with students and parents as a pastor at Clemson Presbyterian Church. When he’s not hanging out with teenagers, he’s usually cooking, driving his old Jeep, or playing the bagpipes. He’s been married to his wonderfully creative and amazingly intelligent wife, Rachel, for 8 years.

6. Girl-Power & the Gospel

Julia Friedman  |  Chattanooga, TN
Beyoncé says girls run the world, and I’ve also heard that girls just want to have fun. I wonder what God thinks about girls? Does He like us? Does He want us to be strong and beautiful? Would Wonder Woman and Jesus have gotten along? Let’s discover what Scripture says about God’s view of women.
Julia Friedman is originally from South Florida where she learned that warm ocean water is about the best thing on earth. Coming to a full understanding of Christianity after college, she decided to go to Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS where she received a Master's Degree in Biblical Studies. She  worked in youth ministry for ten years before getting a doctorate in pharmacy. Currently she is bi-vocational, working on pharmacy staff at a university hospital and teaching at women's events as she attempts to make Christ known in all corners of her life. She and her husband, Kevin, have a son and live in Chattanooga, TN. 

7. In Dependence
Michael Hall  |  Director of Training  |  RYM  |  Charlottesville, VA
While for the first part of our lives we grow up mostly dependent upon our parents (or others) to meet our needs, as we get a little older we start reaching for independence. Something almost instinctive inside us longs for it and so much of our cultural and daily experience promotes it - independence. It’s in our history and part of what it means to “be an American”...for we celebrate our Declaration of Independence! To be sure, there is plenty of truth and health involved when you begin to grow into your own person and take responsibility for your life...your own thoughts, words, and deeds. However, as we do this we often begin to experience a great deal of stress and anxiety because we are all too aware of our weaknesses and limitations. In contrast, the Bible has a lot to say about our lives being marked with joy, peace, and purpose even though we are weak. Is it possible to become more independent and experience this joy and peace at the same time? Yes! Join us in this seminar as we consider how the quest for independence, without a proper understanding of what it means to be human, will actually restrict freedom, joy, and peace. For to be truly human we must remain dependent upon God through each and every day. Join us for some fun and encouraging content helping us better understand what it means to live in dependence!
Michael lives in Charlottesville, VA with his wife Kirby and their three kiddos - McKenzie (16), Carter, (15), and John Thomas (13). He’s served in youth ministry since 1996 in churches in SC, MO, and VA and is now the Director of Training with RYM. He was born and raised in Louisiana so he’s a big LSU fan, but he knows God loves him in a special way because he graduated from Ole Miss! He loves being with people, enjoying the outdoors, laughter, good books, good food, and because it deserves it’s own category, bacon.