Group helps high school students to keep the faith

Sometimes a student’s faith in God doesn’t survive the transition from high school to college but two Western students are trying to help future generations of students make that transition.

Nashville sophomore John Fisher and Eubank sophomore Matt Haste started Alive, a Christian ministry for high school students that is completely run by college students.

Haste said he and Fischer came up with the idea for Alive after they did an internship for a youth group at Forrest Park Baptist Church in Bowling Green last year.

Fisher said after the internship he and Haste were looking to get involved further with high school students.

“We still wanted to be involved with Warren County youth,” Fisher said.

Haste and Fisher said they were both separately thinking about it over the summer but both came up with a similar idea.

“We hadn’t talked about it over the summer,” Haste said. “It was amazing to see that we were thinking along the same lines.”

Haste said it is easier to maintain a good relationship with God when one is still in high school with familiar surrounding where family and friends play a guiding role.

But it is getting harder when students go to college, Haste said, when they are more separated from those influences.

“We wanted to show that college isn’t necessarily just partying, drinking, studying and classes,” Haste said. “It is time to discover yourself.”

Nashville sophomore Rachel Duke was involved with Alive from its beginning and said that it is a useful activity.

“It is important to me because I think it helps kids find a solid foundation with their faith before they come to college,” Duke said.

Beginning ‘Freedom’

Haste and Fisher picked the name and slogan “Dead To Sin” after a bible verse, Romans 6:11 that states that people are alive to God through Christ.

“To sum it up in one word – it’s freedom,” Haste said. “The concept is comfort. Human as we are we all make mistakes and you don’t have to live with the burden of your mistakes.”

Haste said shortly after the beginning of the Fall 2002 semester, he and Fisher started a leadership team with Duke, Gallatin sophomore Sabrina Green and Shepherdsville senior Jeffrey Crady and started planning services and activities.

Even as a founder, Fisher is careful to not credit their work too much.

“God gave us the vision, the names and the phone numbers and told us to make the calls,” Fisher said.

Haste said they began calling several high schools to find a place to hold services. The group held services at various high schools and churches.

The first Alive service took place on October 17, 2002. Haste said after they got the ministries name out to the schools, more and more people got involved.

Sarah Blakeman, a English teacher at Greenwood High School, said she received a call from Haste. Alive held a service at Greenwood and several of her students attend the services.

Blakeman said the organization gives high school students the possibility to come together because it is not limited to students from just one high school. She said she has attended about half of the services and has received a positive response from her students.

“They can come and hold each other accountable, build each other up and encourage one another,” Blakeman said. “And they go because they want to be there.”

Students like Bowling Green High School junior Sarah Beth Borders appreciates the new ministry. Borders said she learned about the group when Haste and Fischer came to her school.

Borders said she attends the service regularly and that Alive will provide a good transition for her when she starts college.

“It’s awesome because it is so God-centered,” Borders said. “I just like the overall ministry and the opportunity to bring my non-christian friends to it.”

Looking toward the future.

Haste said the group plans getting more involved with students on a individual basis and spending time together as a group on the weekends.

Besides getting its own web site, www.aliveministry.org, the ministry is applying to become a nonprofit organization.

Haste said that his friends are supportive and encouraging of Alive. But he has also been told that things like God has no place on a college campus.

“This is America and they are entitled to their own opinion and I fully respect their right to think whatever they might think,” Haste said. ” I also respect my own right to think what I think.”

The final service of the semester will be held at 7 p.m. today on the Colonnade by the Fine Arts Center and is open to college students. It’s a chance for the high school students to see how students like Fisher live the Christian life.

“We have been telling high school students about Christianity in college,” Fisher said. “We’d like to show them this week.”

Reach Marlene Brueggemann at [email protected]