Middle School TX Electives



1. Dating

Joe Deegan
Houston, TX

Joe Deegan is from the small town of Tuscumbia, AL and now lives in the big town of Houston, TX. He has been married to his wife Leah for almost five years. He has three kids—Ellie, Sam, and Will. Joe was a youth minister for seven years at Christ the King Presbyterian and has spent the past year pursuing a career in music as a singer/songwriter. He also thinks RYM camps are the best thing the summer has to offer, and he wasn’t paid to say that.

Boy meets girl, and then what happens? Are they dating? Are they courting? Are they talking? Are they hanging out? Are they in a relationship? Are they boyfriend and girlfriend? Is it complicated? The point is, it doesn’t matter what we call it. That’s surface level stuff. What matters is what’s below the surface—the substance of dating. The Bible actually says very little about a relationship between a boy and a girl before they get married. But it has plenty to say about wisdom. For the Christian, the key to dating is learning how to apply Biblical wisdom to difficult situations and feelings. We’ll spend this class talking about the goal of dating, the hard questions of dating and how to trust the Lord’s guidance throughout the whole process. 

2. I Hate Waiting (GIRLS ONLY)

Rachel Pontier
Student Ministry Coordinator

Ponch (a.k.a. Rachel Pontier) has a Midwest soul but has a Texas sized heart. She has been working at Christ the King in Houston since 2012 and bought her first pair of cowboy boots a year later.  She has loved working with students and appreciates their tolerance of her Iowa accent, awkward hand shakes, terrible sense of direction, and atrocious spelling.  Please be nice to her.

Have you ever looked at someone older and thought, “I can’t wait until I am that cool.” I know I have. In fact, I still do. We are constantly looking around us and wishing we were different, better, more mature, more capable, and just…..more. In this class we are going to take a closer look at how the gospel of grace allows us to be patient with ourselves, with others and with God as He works in our lives and builds His kingdom.

3. Lord Teach Us to Pray

Ryan Dougan
Student Ministry Coordinator
Christ the King
Houston, TX

A few things you need to know about me:  I love sports, Marvel superheroes, Disney movies (including Star Wars), food, games and most of all my wife Micaela. She's an Fighting Texas Aggie and I am a proud member of the Wheaton College Thunder family (Roll Thunder). None of you have heard of Wheaton College before but that's okay because it's still awesome.  My wife, our obnoxious little dog Luna, and I currently live in Houston, TX where I work on the student staff at Christ the King Presbyterian Church.  Christ the King is home to the greatest group of students on the earth....fact.  (No offense to all other groups of students out there.)

My hunch is that you and I have something in common; we both find prayer hard sometimes.  Whether you think you’re too busy, feel like you're talking to the ceiling every time you try, or maybe you want to pray but seem to fall asleep half-way in every time this is the class for you.  Together, we are going to ask God to teach us to pray.  We’ll spend the week looking over Christ’s answer to the question, “How should we pray?”.

4. Another Commandment! A New One!

Josh Keller
YOuth pastor
All Saints Presbyterian Church
Austin, TX

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. 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.

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).