Deep Impact helps youth serve, share the gospelby BSCNC Communications
After 15 years working in retail Dollie Noa was on the career path and on her way to becoming a top-level manager, with no thoughts of looking back.
But before she could continue climbing the corporate ladder God got her attention and showed her a different and better way of life. She realized that life was more than work, and she wanted to invest her time in serving God and loving her family.
“I believe God has a bigger plan than we can imagine,” she said. “God equipped me to step up and serve Him.”
Before long Noa quit her job, took a 50 percent pay cut to work part time for a church and enrolled in Campbell University’s Divinity School. She served 10 years as youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Spring Lake before God called her to serve as director of education and children at Alexis Baptist Church.
Alexis is only about 40 miles from Charlotte, so when NC Baptist Men student mobilization consultant Tom Beam asked Noa to serve this summer as coordinator for Deep Impact in Charlotte, it was a natural fit.
Noa is well acquainted with Deep Impact, having previously served as coordinator in Red Springs and in New Brunswick, Canada. She has also served about nine years during World Missions Week at Caswell.
Deep Impact weeks are opportunities for middle and high school students to spend one week during the summer serving and sharing their faith. During the week Deep Impact youth also participate in evening worship services.
Deep Impact is sponsored by NC Baptist Men, under Beam’s direction. Deep Impact began 15 years ago; the first locations were the North Carolina Baptist Assembly at Fort Caswell in Brunswick County, and Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
This summer, 1,600 students participated in activities such as construction, Vacation Bible School, prayer walking, senior adult ministry and community outreach projects. In North Carolina, Deep Impact was held in Greensboro, Hendersonville, Red Springs, Shelby, Caswell Beach and Bladen County.
Two weeks were also held in New York City and one week in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
This year was the first time for camps in Charlotte, Rockingham and Avery County.
The Metrolina Baptist Association and members of the team that helped plan the various mission project sites throughout Charlotte joined with the Deep Impact youth during the week. Noa said their involvement is crucial, as it provides more opportunity for follow up.
“The youth teams will leave after the week, but this local team will still be here. We’re just a support; we want to help plug people into local churches.”
Before going out into the community to serve, each Deep Impact week begins with a time of evangelism and missions training.
“We all have a story to tell,” Noa said. “We want youth to learn how to build relationships so that they can share that story with others.”
Charlotte’s urban setting helped the youth participants, who represented rural churches, better understand how to serve and witness in a context beyond what is familiar and comfortable.
“This week has been small town meets big city,” said Amanda Monroe, minister of youth and children at First Baptist Church in Raeford. “I don’t want these youth to be afraid to be involved in urban ministry.”
Youth – some for the first time – met children who did not have food to eat every day. They also ministered to children with difficult situations at home.
“During Deep Impact the youth are able to experience different aspects of ministry and to have different experiences,” Monroe said. “We’re also learning new ideas to take back to use in our community.”
Derrick Andrews, youth director at New Bessemer Baptist Church in McLeanvsille, brought youth to Deep Impact for the first time this year. He also said he appreciates the opportunity Deep Impact provides youth to explore their different ministry gifts and talents.
The mission team Andrews led learned very quickly how to be flexible. Early in the week the team was assigned construction projects at a local assisted living facility. However, they found themselves doing just as much ministry inside the facility, among the residents, as they did outside.
“Each one of the youth has something to offer, and this has helped them become more comfortable in using their gifts,” Andrews said.
Deep Impact was the first time Caleb Owen, member of Faith Baptist Church in Archdale, participated in a missions effort with his church. Owen said Deep Impact was an opportunity for him, as an older youth, to step up and help set an example.
“It sets an example for Christ; it’s sacrifice,” he said of the Deep Impact week. “I would do this my whole summer. It has been such a joy to serve.”
For more information about Deep Impact, visit www.baptistsonmission.org.