Middle School TX Electives

RYM Middle School Texas Electives

Please read the descriptions of each class below and then register for 2 at the bottom of this page. Thanks! 

1. What Can I Say Except You're Welcome - Tree Triolo

The Bible calls us to live out the love of God to others.  This does not come naturally to us, but it doesn't have to be a daunting thing.  In this elective we will briefly look at the book of Ruth.  The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of the hospitality to God towards someone that was a complete outsider.  Throughout the course of the week we will look at how we can apply principles of biblical hospitality to others through simple, meaningful ways.

Andrew "Tree" Triolo is the Associate Pastor of Youth & Families at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bryan, Texas where he has served for the past 4.5 years.  He has previously served at churches in Mississippi and North Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte.  Tree has been doing youth ministry in various capacities since he graduated college.  He has a passion for youth ministry as he came to know the Lord during his high school years.  Tree loves anything sports, developing and writing curriculum, and is a Star Wars Nerd (not all at the same time)!  He has been married to his wonderful bride Jeri Lyn for 10 years and they have two children Adelina (4) and Michael (3)

2. Rubber Band Friendships: Relationships That Hold, Stretch, or Sometimes Need to Break - Shannon Hathaway

Friendships are essential to a happy life. Friends come and go throughout our lives, but some friendships stay together for years or even decades. This elective will help you learn how to nurture friendships that last, and how to tell if they are healthy and helpful in stretching you to become more like Christ. We will also consider how to tell when a relationship needs to end, and offer tips on withdrawing from a relationship in a healthy, gracious way when it is hurting you rather than helping you serve the Lord and others. 

Shannon Hathaway graduated from Covenant Theological Seminary in 2007, earning a Master of Arts in Theological Studies.  She serves part-time on the Youth Staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO, and has taught adult and youth Sunday School and Women’s Bible Studies for 15 years.  Shannon is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Counseling degree, and is passionate about walking with adolescents as they make the complicated transition from childhood to adulthood. Her husband, Dr. Joel Hathaway, serves as the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Career Services at Covenant Seminary.  Shannon also works part-time in the Academics department at the Seminary.  Joel and Shannon delight in three college-aged sons and a middle school daughter, who patiently continue to teach them about life in the teen and young adult years.

3. In My Feelings: The Songs of the Bible - Thomas Fitch

Drake wasn’t the first poet to write about his feelings. Long before Spotify, David and other Biblical authors expressed how they felt through songs called Psalms. The Psalms are the biggest book in the Bible and one of the greatest tools given to Christians on how to talk to God. They teach us how to praise and lament, ask and forgive, be joyful and repent. They teach us that we can be honest with how we feel about God and trust that he hears and answers our prayers. This class will teach us how to read the Psalms, pray with the Psalms, and even write your own Psalms. We’ll also look at the Psalms as songs and compare them to modern music in our culture. Whether you play an instrument, love music/poetry, or just want to learn more about the Psalms and how to talk to God, this class is for you!

My name is Thomas Fitch and I am the Youth Director at All Saints Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. I graduated from the University of Texas in 2021 with a degree in Journalism and Sports Media. I did sports broadcasting in college and still enjoy watching and talking about all sports, especially college football and golf. I love photography and am always planning a road trip adventure to go somewhere and take pictures. I also love music and while I wouldn’t call myself a musician by any stretch, I do like to play guitar and occasionally write songs.

4. Inside Out: A Biblical Understanding of Your Emotions - David Barnes

God made you emotional.  Love, anger, peace, anxiety, guilt, just to name a few, are emotions (and emojis) we all have. Sometimes we feel in control of our emotions.  Other times we feel our emotions control us!  As disciples of Jesus, we must have our emotions discipled by the truth of the Bible.  What are emotions?  What do they do?  What should we do with them?  Is God emotional?  We will answer those questions and consider a few common emotions you face.  Emotional discipleship, we all need it!

David Barnes is the Associate Pastor at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church, outside of St. Louis.  He is a debtor to the mercy of Christ, and in addition to his 6 years ministering to students and their families at Twin Oaks, served as a missionary in Spain.  He and Crystal, his wife of 18 years, have four children ranging from 9 years old to 16 years old.  RYM was a key part of his discipleship as a teenager, so he is grateful for the opportunity to serve RYM and its students.  Ask him what is the often overlooked, but oh so necessary, ingredient to a good banana sandwich!

5. What is God Like?: Exploring the Attributes of God - Noah Wiersema

Have you ever wondered what God is like? What does it mean that He knows everything and is everywhere? And how do we know what’s really true about Him and what’s not? Join us to explore what the Bible says about God, and how who He is changes who we are and the way we live.

Noah is the Associate Pastor of Youth at New St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX. He is married to Amy and they have a one year old daughter named Edith Jane. Noah enjoys walking with Amy, reading to Edith Jane, playing soccer, and spending time with students, either opening God's Word together, hanging out over slushies, or playing spikeball.