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Trinity Baptist Church in Sweetwater has been seeing a new face on the campus of their church, as Emmanuel Jimenez was recently hired at the start of November as the church's new youth pastor.
Jimenez grew up in Bangs, Texas and is the youngest of four children. While his goal is to bring seventh through twelfth graders to grow up knowing Christ, his upbringing was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
His family was affected by issues with anger, drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse and divorce. And because he looked up to his two older brothers--who both unfortunately spent some time in prison, he recalled the beginning of following down the same path.
But as a seventh grader, Jimenez became a follower of Jesus after being invited to attend a Wednesday night youth service.
"I'm so thankful for the youth pastor and church family that God provided for me growing up. They discipled me, loved me and supported me unconditionally," he said. "I believe that I would be another negative statistic had God not given them a burden for youth ministry. Thatâ€™s where I met Godly role models."
He continued to be involved with the church, and as a high school freshman attended an event called YEC (Youth Evangelism Conference). It was at this time where he finally addressed the leading of God to go into ministry. "I thought my family was too messed up for me to be a minister and for God to use me," he recollected.
Emmanuel has served at First Baptist Church (FBC) Santa Anna, FBC Carrizo Springs, and most recently at Central Baptist Church in Round Rock, TX. He is married to his bride Bethany; the couple met at Howard Payne University, where Emmanuel received a BA in Christian Studies with a Focus in Bible at the school located in Brownwood.
Emmanuel and Bethany desire to help students and families to not just come to Church but to be the Church. They want to see families of the Church grow in their love for the Lord and each other, while also partnering with them to reach out to families and students in the community who desperately need Jesus.
Jimenez shared that there are three ways for local youth to get connected to the Trinity Baptist youth ministry. On Wednesday nights, their large-group gathering offers worship, fun, challenging message and a safe environment to build healthy relationships.
"This is the perfect place to take the next step in connecting with students at Trinity," he stated.
On Sunday mornings at 9:30, the youth meet together for worship and announcements before splitting up into three classes: middle school, ninth and tenth grade, and a class from high school juniors and seniors.
And on Sunday nights at 6 p.m., Jimenez says that this time allows the youth group to "go deeper," in which their current study is called "The Gospel and World Religions."
"At these classes we learn what other religions believe and how we can lovingly share the Bibleâ€™s timeless truth and Good News with people of these faiths," he said. "I hope every student can be a part of this study."