In Sept. 20 IssueBy Derek AaronRussell County News Editor
When Andrew Fultz, 24, moved to Russell County with his wife, Jessica, last month to take over the youth pastor’s position at Jamestown First Baptist Church, he had no idea the immediate impact he would have on the church’s youth, thus making him this week’s “Russell County Hero.”
Fultz, whose father was a pastor, was born in Brandenburg, Ky. but his family moved to Eunice, Louisiana when he was six months old before finally settling in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of the state’s largest towns.
He graduated from Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College, a small, private liberal arts college in Pineville, with a degree in social studies and a minor in religion.
“I got to learn there under some really awesome people,” he said. “I met a lot of people there that I will forever remember what they taught me.”
He said he received a great education there as his professors taught him “both sides of the spectrum.”
He started his college career at LSUE, a community college in Eunice, to get his prerequisites out of the way, and then on to LSU.
“My wife and I got married at that time,” he said. “We started (at LSU) that first year and decided to go to Louisiana College.”
But Fultz, who said he became a Christian at 14, was called to the ministry much earlier than that.
“When I was 17 years old I was working at a Christian summer camp and I had kind of always felt God’s call on my life and I resisted full-time ministry for a long time but that is when I knew that this is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Fultz, who is in his first church position in Jamestown, said he worked several other placed that prepared him for his ministry.
He worked and coordinated programs at both a counseling agency and an advocacy teen center in Lafayette over the past two years.
“I really got to see the total opposite of what you would see inside a church,” Fultz said. “I saw at-risk teens who really had nothing, they were forgotten, they were pushed into these places to get them out of the community and I was my job to show them love,” he said. “I showed them that this whole Christianity thing was about more than dressing up on Sundays and going to church.”
Fultz began his job as Jamestown First Baptist youth minister on August 11. The church is currently without a senior pastor, but Fultz guaranteed the church would make it through this transition time.
Fultz also oversees Sunday School for the youth on Sunday mornings and a bigger youth-oriented service on Sunday nights.
Fultz found the job opening in Jamestown through the Western Recorder, the Kentucky Baptists’ primary communication newspaper and Web site, after he and his wife moved to Bowling Green earlier this year.
He said he had always wanted to move back to Kentucky after missing out on growing up in his native state.
“We knew God was telling us to move to Kentucky,” he said. Fultz said his wife enrolled at Western Kentucky University to obtain a masters in social work.
“We actually moved on May 28 to Bowling Green without any jobs and on pure faith,” he said.
“When we were there is when I got a call from the church about an interview.”
He received the job and he and Jessica, whose father was also a pastor, moved to Jamestown soon thereafter.
“I love how accepting everyone has been,” he said. “It is such a small, connected community.”
Fultz said he was astonished at how the “elders” within the church wanted to involve the youth more, something he called “backwards” for most places.
“Right now we are working on getting a full-blown youth worship service for Sunday nights,” he said.
The main emphasis for youth at the church is Sunday and Wednesday nights, according to Fultz.
“We’re trying, from every aspect, to provide a quality worship time for these kids and at the same time remind them that they are a part of the church,” he said.
“The point of it all is there really is this guy named Jesus who actually cares about their entire lives,” he said. “It is my job to help show them that way.”
Fultz said his youth class currently ranges from 25-30 students.
“I’m very excited about our prospects here,” he said.
He said he was very impressed and encouraged with his student’s knowledge, so far.
“This church has just opened their arms up to us and helped us through every transition,” he said. “This church is ready for growth.”
Fultz said any youth wishing to attend the Sunday or Wednesday night services to call the church at 270-343-4266 for bus pick-up information.