High School CO Electives



1. The Gospel According To... HARRY POTTER


“Slim” Thompson, is a husband of 11 years, father for 7, and human for 33.  He listens to all kinds of music, watches all kinds of crazy shows, and can make grown men cry.  He’s an Associate Pastor in Waco, TX and has been doing Youth Ministry for over 18 years.  Don’t take his class. 

What can muggles, wizards, witchcraft, horcruxes, pensieves, werewolves, quidditch, and 'the boy who lived' teach us about the Gospel?  Well... a lot.  Join us this week to see how JK Rowling uses wands and wizardry to explain Sacraments, Substitutionary Atonement, and the Quest for Life after Death.  Warning, we will watch clips.  So if your parents are against this, don't signup for this class.  

2. (i)phones and (i)dolatry

AJ Swanson
Youth & Children's Director
Christ COmmunity Church
Frisco, TX

AJ Swanson has served in youth ministry for over a decade and has owned a smart phone for 4 years. He currently is the Director of Youth and Children at Christ Community Church in Frisco, TX. He is married to Corrie and has 3 Kids (Steve, Piper and Evangeline; coming this August). AJ, like his name, collects letters: he is a little ADD, OCD and loves the grocer H-E-B. 

Technology is a tool. Tools, by their very nature, help us do things better. In an age where screen time dominates our daily lives, this class will look at how screen-time amplifies relational and personal positive and negative desires. How can we develop a set of boundaries around technology instead of becoming entrapped in it?

3. Reliability of Scripture

Ryan Hughs
RUF Campus Minister
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO

Ryan is from New Mexico, and so is his wife Amy. They have three amazing daughters. Ryan currently serves as the RUF campus minister at Colorado State. He loves all things sports related and outdoors. He reads books if he has to. And Ryan loves to communicate the Gospel of Jesus to youth and college students. It's kinda like the most important and most beautiful thing.

The Bible is so old and we don't have the original copy so how can I trust the Bible in my hands? We will look at how and why the Bible is trustworthy. We'll engage how we can know events really happened, how your Bible came to be; and talk about the most common objections to the Bible as a trustworthy, accurate, faith-forming document. Bring your questions, too!

4. Another Commandment! A New One!


Josh Keller is the Youth Pastor at All Saints Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX. He has three kids, one beautiful wife, and a loving and aging dog. He loves laughing (and who doesn't), soccer (especially Liverpool Football Club), and taking long walks on the beach (actually he hates that).

Jesus tells us that His new commandment is that we love one another. How important do we really think that is for Jesus. Why is it so hard? What makes it so hard to love others, forgive others, or even just give others the time of day and a friendly smile? Well - let's figure out what God's Word has to say about that!  

5. Something's Missing - The Search for Satisfaction

Justin Pillsbury
Assistant Pastor for Youth
Cahaba Park Presbyterian church
Birmingham, AL

Justin is the Assistant Pastor for Youth at Cahaba Park Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL. He is a native Texan who split his college years between TCU and Texas Tech. After college he spent 8 years as the director of student ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS. He got his Masters of Divinity degree from RTS Jackson. He has been to RYM for over 10 years! He has been married to Caroline for almost 13 years and has two boys, Jay and Mac.
At some point all of us have wondered what would life be like… if I had a lot of money, if I was more attractive, if I had more likes or followers, if I was the best athlete in school, if I dated him or her, if I was Taylor Swift or LeBron James.  It’s  our natural bent to think, "if I had this, was more like this or could just fix this about myself,”  then we would be satisfied and our lives would make sense.  The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us there are many routes the world offers in the search for satisfaction, but they will lead to further emptiness, brokenness, frustration, and pain if lived apart from the God who made us.  

6. Insecurity: Fighting Our Lesser Fears with a Greater One

John Perritt
RYM Resource Coordinator
Jackson, MS

John Perritt grew up in Laurel, MS, and moved up north to Ridgeland, MS, after marrying his wife, Ashleigh in 2003.  While he initially worked at Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance, the Lord would call him back into youth ministry on a full-time basis, shortly after their move.
God had used Reformed University Fellowship and a summer at Alpine Camp for Boys to plant the seed of youth ministry in John’s heart.  After working at SFBLI for a year, he was hired as a Youth Intern at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church in Ridgeland.  While working at POPC, John graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary with his Masters of Divinity in 2009 and his Doctorate of Ministry in Family Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2016.
Growing up, John never read a book – he despised reading (unless the book had pictures…lots of pictures).  As the Lord has matured his faith, he not only enjoys reading, but has a growing desire to write. John had zero aspirations to write for the majority of his life, but has sensed this desire growing with each passing year.  In fact, he published a book entitled, Your Days Are Numbered, in the Spring of 2016 and has a forthcoming book entitled, What Would Judas Do?, set for release in 2017. 
In the midst of wrestling with a desire to write, Joey Stewart approached him about becoming the Resource Coordinator for RYM.  That conversation at Starbucks solidified many of the callings John had been praying about, so he came on staff with RYM in 2017.  Although John will be stepping away from his role as Youth Director, he carries with him the same zeal to minister to teenagers, parents and youth workers, simply in a different context.
John and his wife, Ashleigh, have five children: Sarah, Samuel, Jillian, Will, & Amber.

It’s there when you look in the mirror.  You’ll find it roaming the halls of your school.  It’s on the athletic field and the stage in your school auditorium. It’s there when you take the ACT or SAT. You’ll see it sitting in the classroom when you give that oral report.  It tucks you in at night and greets you as you roll out of bed.  You’ll read it in text messages & tweets.  See it on Snapchat and Instagram.  It’s in our conversations and is always rattling around in our minds. 
What is it?  Insecurity.
Insecurity is something all humans struggle with.  Young and old, male and female, across the globe – insecurity has no boundaries.  While it is a commonality among humanity, it doesn’t mean it’s something you have to live with. Insecurity is painful for many, but there is a greater fear to drown out this lesser one.  Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  It is in this greater fear, that we learn how to grow, live, and, possibly defeat, our insecurity.

7. TULIP: The Joy of Calvinism

Matthew Beham
Assistant pastor of youth ministry
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
San Antonio, TX

Matt Beham is the husband of Haley, a small town Texas girl, and the father of Elliotte, his two-year-old daughter with whom he is completely smitten. He is the Assistant Pastor of Youth Ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, where he has been working for the last eight years. His favorite place to turn off his iPhone is on the Golf Course.

Did Jesus save you, or did Jesus make salvation possible? Did Jesus jump into the water and pull you out, or is he in the business of manufacturing life-vests? Are you secure in your salvation, or liable to falling out of the Father's hands? Does God love you personally, or generally? 
This year marks the 500th year of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and it is fitting that we should explore and recapture some of the central truths of the Reformed Faith. We'll talk about TULIP, the acronym that describes the state of humanity and the Trinitarian work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to save and keep God's people. My hope is that you'll not only find truth in this class but also the joy of your salvation and security you have in God's promise that 'he who began a good work in you will surely carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus' (Phil. 1:6). 

8. Growth in Grace

Scott Lowe
Grace Church
Fort Collins, CO

Scott is the Senior Pastor at Grace Church Presbyterian in Fort Collins, Colorado. Scott is originally from Memphis, TN, and a graduate of the University of Memphis as well as Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. He moved out to Colorado in 2004 as the assistant pastor for the newly planted church. In 2009 Scott was called to be Senior pastor.  In addition to Grace Church, Scott serves with for Restoration Now, Reformed Youth Ministry, and an advisor with Ruminate Magazine. Scott is married to the love of his life Amy and they have two children Davis and Ella.  Scott loves theology, books, sports, and great food.

I am a Christian. But I am stuck. How do I grow? What do I need to do? The things I do, I don't want to do and the things don't do, I long to do. Sound familiar? These are the struggles of apostle Paul's that he voiced. So, if you are struggling, You are not alone. In this seminar we will process together the roadblocks to growth and how the gospel frees us to grow in Jesus. Join us!

9. Out of Hiding: Finding God in Our Loneliness (GIRLS ONLY)

Ashley Wilkinson
St. Louis, MO

Ashley Wilkinson grew up in Cookeville, TN moving to Saint Louis, MO after marrying her husband Dave in 2012. Ashley’s relationship with RYM started when she was 2 years old going to conferences with her parents, then attending as a student for many years before working as an intern for the Florida Senior High conferences for the past 6 years. She ran the nursery at her church, The Kirk of the Hills, for 3 years and has also enjoyed participating in the youth events there. Recently, Ashley graduated with her Master of Arts in Counseling from Covenant Theological Seminary. She is extremely excited to serve the high school students of RYM in this new way and only wishes she could somehow bring her furry son Nemo with her.

There are often times in life where we feel so isolated that nothing could pierce the loneliness. Starting a new school when you walk into the cafeteria for the first time… when all your friends seem more concerned with their individual romances than your friendship… when your parents tell you they are getting divorced… when you cannot shake the sadness and anxiety that you wear like a heavy blanket and don't know why… when you lose someone you love… or when you try to pray but it feels like no one is listening or no one cares. “Sometimes what we call ‘loneliness’ is what God’s word calls a longing for unhindered intimacy with Him and others…. You thought you were hiding, but in reality, I was setting you up to meet with Me. That’s what you need. You need an encounter with Me.” In this class we will learn what it means to risk coming out of hiding and the riches of being held by the Lord. Come join me as we search for a personal and intimate encounter with our God within the loneliness.