Pastor Deon Clark & Mount Zion Youth Ministry

by Tonya Dixon | September 14th, 2015
Pastor Deon Clark (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Pastor Deon Clark (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Ministering to children and youth is no easy task on any level. The degree of patience, love and endurance required is significant to say the least. Young people are easily distracted in a world that constantly places more value on material things and devalues the necessity of Christian, spiritual growth. However, Mount. Zion Baptist Church of Greensboro, Inc. is even more determined to equip them with a solid foundation of Godly principles as well as empower them to physical, mental and emotional wholeness. To say that Mt. Zion is committed to youth and children is an understatement. The manner in which the church operates concerning ministry for them is intensely intentional, strategic and purposeful.

Imagine Kingdom, the children’s ministry, and Youth Blaze, the youth ministry, recently underwent a complete restructure from new intuitive curriculums to interactive facilities. It’s different. It’s new. It’s not church as usual and it’s making a massive impact. Imagine Kingdom includes a nursery, preschool, pre-k and elementary through fifth grade, while Youth Blaze is for sixth through 12th grade. Everything done, said or even displayed is done with the intention of producing spiritually empowered children and youth. T he level of communication and technology utilized is nothing short of amazing. Both Imagine Kingdom and Youth Blaze have separate, updated facilities, which include a new, secure check-in system, worship areas with televisions, LED lights and video walls as well as arcade rooms with all the games and systems that kids have come to know and love.

Nevertheless, the word of God and lessons that previous generations learned is still being taught, however Mount Zion has honed in and discovered the importance of varying the method to match the distinct member. In other words, today’s youth are technology sure and savvy, therefore the method used to minister to them should be as well.

According to Mount Zion Youth Pastor Deon Clark, every aspect of the children and youth ministry has a purpose and nothing is done haphazardly. “We are very intentional. Senior Pastor Bryan Pierce has a vision for our children and youth to experience worship in a manner that is just as intense as the adults, but just on their level,” says Clark. “We started [our restructure] with our younger children first because it’s just like anything else, whether it’s sports or discipline, the Bible says train up a child in the way he should go and I also like to say in the way he should grow. Each child or youth is trained for the next level in ministry so that when they get to the next level they‘ll know what to do because they have already experienced worship on some level.”

“Our kids are on fire for God because they don’t know any better. They worship without having to be told,” he adds.
Participants in Imagine Kingdom are spiritually fed through The Gospel Project for Kids curriculum by Lifeway. Parents are even able to follow their child’s progression. While Youth Blaze members don’t follow a specified curriculum they are being given the same instruction and wisdom that their parents receive every Sunday, just on their level of understanding. Youth Blaze is broken down into two sub-groups; middle school called, iSpark and high school called iIgnite.

“We believe middle schoolers are the sparks that will ignite the blaze and high schoolers, once they have been sparked, will be the ignition to keep it going,” Clark says.

With weekly and monthly series such as: “YouTube, What are you Broadcasting?” and “Straight Outta Christ” (adapted from the Straight Outta Compton motion picture) Pastor Pierce, Pastor Clark and all the ministry leaders including the awesome, and vitally important Youth Ministry Advisory Council, are able to grab the attention of a group of people who are fiercely difficult to attract and retain. “We have fun, we do giveaways. We may even give out gift cards. Nothing is ever the same because if you keep doing the same thing with youth they get bored and we want them to know there isn’t anything boring about a life in Christ,” Clark says. “Sometimes youth and children will not learn if we continue doing it the way we did it 15-20 years ago. We are very transparent [with them] and aware of where we are. Youth ministry can’t be done the same. Youth ministry evolves every three to five years and that’s what we try to do.”

The effort and sacrifices Mount Zion makes for children and youth ministry and to impact this generation requires countless, passion-filled volunteers, who are the heart and soul of the ministry. They give of their time and expend their energy because they believe in the cause. The church makes no excuses or apologies for investing in their children and youth. Moreover, the influence is not just relegated to the physical church. It goes beyond the four walls. It reaches the community in big ways. Pastor Pierce stands on the notion that he who serves the city, wins the city.

“We are simply applying and expanding our pastor’s vision. We believe it’s not enough to do church on Wednesday and Sundays, but we want to impact them in other areas,” Clark says. “We’re not just doing church, but we’re bringing church to the people and the community.

The ministry recently teamed up with Guilford County Schools and served over 5,000 children and parents giving out backpacks, food, haircuts and numerous other services and offering countless resources, including parent workshops, which are offered on a continual basis at the church, such as how to help their children with end of grade testing and even parent and child relationship classes. It’s all done with an effort to make sure the children succeed and the parents are equipped to assist them.

While Pastor Clark invests a great deal of his time and energy into spiritually guiding the youth at the church, he also makes sure he’s available for home or school visits for any child that may be struggling or even as a show of support in the event of a child having a court case. “We are very passionate because every single student from age 0-18 matters to this youth ministry, just like every adult matters to our senior pastor,” Clark says.
He reiterates that Mount Zion has always seen the value and worth of advocating for children and youth with exceptionalism and pride, but opportunities for growth will never be extinguished. The only way the ministry has been able to expand is because of God leading, guiding, directing and giving vision to leadership and leadership in turn being obedient to the voice of the Lord. There’s room for greater work to be done and Mount Zion is determined to use every resource the Lord makes available to do its part in winning youth for the Kingdom of God. Pastor Clark is supported by his wife Jennifer and kids Noah, Nilah and Nolan.

Pastor Bryan J. Pierce says the vision for Mount Zion’s youth ministy has to do with developing and sustaining a youth ministry of excellece. “It’s in three parts. We wanted to get a great discipleship resource. We also wanted to find volunteers who would meet the criteria as it relates to teaching with the spirit of excellence, as it relates to our young people. We also wanted to make disciples. Finally, we wanted to transform the childrens church into a more condusive 21st century – state of the art – worhip center for our children. They have all of the modern technology tools that will help them advance the kingdom of God. We are happy to see that vision come along. God has graced us and we have made great strides,” he says. “We are very proud to have Pastor Clark lead our youth. He knows how to lead and reach the youth where they are. He has a creativity to know the things that will keep their minds and hearts towards God. Our children are our youth of today, and not just tomorrow and we are very grateful that God has given them to us.”

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