BROWNSBORO—It was a journey of biblical proportions and more than a year in the making.
The Jarhead and Soul Sister youth groups from Rock Hill Baptist Church in Brownsboro participated in a hands-on Bible study, building replicas of fixtures from the Old Testament temple. Early in the summer, a long line of students, parents, church members, deacons and the pastor marched seven-plus miles from Brownsboro to their new facility located on Highway 31. They were guided and protected by the Brownsboro Fire Department and a police escort.
The march itself was a symbolic journey, not only to drive home the arduous methods in which the Jews cared for their hallowed Ark of the Covenant, the lampstand, the showbread table, the table of incense and other prescribed items, but it was also a call to step out boldly on faith.
Robert Welch, pastor of Rock Hill, led the way, representing the high priest, according to the Old Testament.
“These kids worked over a year on this project and learned a lot about the Bible, about their relationship with God. I think that speaks well about this next generation. I know a lot of people down this next generation—but when these kids took their Saturday mornings, their Sunday evenings, all the preparation and hard work—they gave all that to the Lord. They did a lot more today than many older adults have ever done for the Lord. I’m proud of them and I’m proud to be their pastor. And I’m proud of what God is doing in their lives and through Rock Hill.”
During the year-long process, some students experienced peer pressure against participating in learning about the Old Testament, the temple, and how God called his people to be set apart.
“It hurts me to know that some of these kids suffered ridicule. This was to learn more about God and their faith, what they believe in. But to truly know who Jesus Christ is, why he came and the full purpose and value for his sacrifice, one needs to understand the true nature of the Old Testament,” said one of the parents. “After all, this is part of Jesus’ heritage, and to really know him one should want to know all about him. Right?”
Katy Robertson, a high school student and a member of the Soul Sisters, commented on the peer pressure she saw other students experience. “I know it taught me a lot about commitment. Some people dropped out and lost their connection with God and became more ‘worldly.’ As a group, we experienced a lot of peer pressure doing this. There were a lot of people who made fun of us. It became very personal.”
“Back when it first started, I don’t think we understood how big of a ‘personal journey’ it would be,” wrote Tristan Moore, a member of the Jarhead group. “Some kids thought it (the project) was pointless and didn’t get as involved as they should have, but I didn’t let them get to me. It went from being pieces of wood to actual objects that meant something biblical. During (the work) I’ll admit it wasn’t the ‘fun-nest’ thing ever, but afterwards, I’m definitely glad we did it. It will be an experience we’ll never forget.”
Jerry Don Satterfield, also a member of the Jarhead group, remarked of the peer pressure, “There was slight persecution, but in reality, when it’s for God, it doesn’t matter. The March to the Rock project was a lot of work and dedication. I’m glad I did it.”
The deacons of Rock Hill participated as well, and since the replicas of the holy temple were precursors to the coming of Christ, they thought it only fitting to build a large wooden cross that would follow the procession. The deacons took turns physically carrying the 10-foot cross down the highway to show their support for the youth’s dedication.
“It was a very moving experience,” commented Tom Williams, Rock Hill deacon chairman. “I didn’t know what to expect, but as the day went on there was a really deep sense of accomplishment and feeling like God was with us.”
When asked about what emotions he experienced stepping onto the grounds of the new facility, Williams said, “Well, not so much as walking up to the new church, but walking and reflecting, carrying the cross, and thinking about what Christ had done for us and what little bit it was to take two or three hours of our day to carry a wooden cross. These kids are our future. We marched our future right up to the new church and hopefully they will continue on.”
Brian Cooper, a coach in the Brownwood school district, also came to show his support for members of his team. “These kids put themselves out there. They showed some leadership and their faith as they walked in front of their friends and their community unashamed. It was something special to see these kids do this.”
Many cars slowed to view the students carrying heavy wooden objects and the long procession of adults who came out to support the youth. In the end, all the students agreed that if they caused people to weigh the faithfulness of their relationships with Christ or whether or not they even had one, it was worthwhile.
“I think it’s significant that this march was one of the first events we held at our new facility, which was done by our students,” Welch said. “This speaks to me of what this is all about—it’s about the next generation, about reaching our future. I’m so proud to have been a part of it and all their hard work. I mean, this is their building. This is their church. I’m glad that they’re already stepping up and leading it.”