High School FL 1 Electives



1. Help! I Want to Grow as a Christian...

Shawn Slate
REdeemer Church
Knoxville, TN

Shawn Slate is the Pastor at Redeemer Church of Knoxville.  Prior to Redeemer, Shawn served as the Campus Minister at the University of Virginia for 10 years.  He loves to run, paint and eat donuts.  See you at the Donut Hole in Panama City!

Sinclair Ferguson once wrote, "There is nothing more important to learn about Christian growth than this: Growing in grace means becoming like Christ."  This idea of growing sounds like a big deal to Christians, but how does it happen and what should it look like.  In our seminar, we want to let the gospel direct us and free us to become more like Jesus, rather than more like the person everyone 

2. Friend or Foe? Exploring the Beauty and Brokenness of Relationships in the Real World

Matthew Icard
Pastor of Youth & Families
Clemson, SC

Matthew grew up in the foothills of South Carolina. After a few stopovers in Roanoke and Charlotte, he accepted a call back to South Carolina to become the Pastor of Youth and Families at Clemson Presbyterian Church. When he’s not spending time with students and parents, Matthew is usually tinkering with his old Jeep, attempting to play his trusty guitar, or fondly reflecting on Clemson’s 2016 National Championship. Matthew and his wonderfully creative, amazingly intelligent, and fantastically talented wife, Rachel, have been married for 7 years.

Newsflash — relationships are hard! Just think about it. We’ve all been really hurt by people that we really trusted. We’ve all felt lonely, forgotten, or betrayed. We’ve all looked for approval and acceptance only to find resentment and rejection.  We’ve all struggled with anger, jealousy, and bitterness, and we’ve all been slow to extend forgiveness. So why does this happen? I mean, why are our relationships at home, at school, and at church so frustrating and sometimes just so downright ugly? In this elective, we’re going to talk about the realities of living life alongside other people in a messy, fallen world. We’re going to look at the good and the bad and learn that the gospel brings real hope, real life, and real freedom to all our relationships (even the hard ones). 

3. 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.  

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


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.

5. Can and Should We Take the Bible Seriously?

John Stone
Knoxville, TN

John Stone was born in South Carolina and attended Clemson University, graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education..  John graduated in 1992 from Covenant Seminary.  John is married to Marisa Tate who graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in English.  They have three wonderful children, Sarah 21, Katherine 18 and Mary Simpson 16.  John was a campus minister for 11 years, 4 at Belhaven College (92-96) in Jackson Mississippi and for 7 years in Knoxville, TN at the University of Tennessee (96-03).  John has been the Assistant Coordinator (VP over ministry) for RUF for the last 14 years but is now transitioning to a new job.  John and Marisa were married in 1992 and live in Knoxville, TN.

What should we believe about the Bible? In a world where the Bible is increasingly put down, ignored, mocked and scorned what do we do with the Bible?  What do we do with so many scientist who say the bible is not true?  What do we and what does the Church believe about the Bible?  Is it even reasonable to belive in the Bible any more.  Come to this class and learn what the Bible believes about itself and what Jesus believes about the Bible.  Come see how Jesus shows us to be the word and shows us the truth of the word.

6. Let's Get Physical: A Theology of the Body (GIRLS ONLY)

Julia Friedman
Chattanooga, TN


Why do you have the body you have? If God is a spirit, why did He make humans with bodies?! What does God think of the human body? What place does your body play in redemption and how does redemption affect your body? How are Christians supposed to think about sexuality? Most of us take our bodies for granted or maybe we have a love/hate relationship with them. Heck, maybe we just have a hate relationship with them (Why does that part always jiggle?!). But what if our bodies are really this amazing thing made for a glorious purpose and destiny? What if there is big cosmic role your specific body plays in this world? This class is designed to cast a vision of what your body is meant to be part of, how your heart connects with your body, and even sex. All of us who have a skin might find this class helpful!