Youth Ministry

J Nelson
J Nelson    
Youth Minister

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Meet J-
After sixteen years, hundreds of pizza slices, and countless meetings at Chick-fil-a, J is still convinced that working with teenagers is the best job in the world.  A native of Columbus, Mississippi, J attended Mississippi State University, Wesley Biblical Seminary, and is currently pursuing a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at Mississippi College. J is married with three children, lives in the Jackson metro area, and has the privilege of leading the Youth Ministry team at Christ United. He is a believer in the Boston Red Sox, James Taylor, snow skiing, running, acoustic guitars, and Netflix…oh yeah and that the Mississippi State Bulldog baseball team will win a national championship in his lifetime!      

Our goal for youth ministry is to send students into the world who are connected to Jesus and committed to his way.  Whether it's on our church campus or your school campus, we want to connect with you and get you connected to the Youth Ministry.  We do this by...


D Groups for 6th - 7th Grade Students:
D Groups for 10th - 12th Grade Students:

Our desire is to see each student become a positive influence in the lives of younger students. Whether it be serving alongside an adult as a small group leader or assisting with weekly programs – we would love to sit down with you and help you discover where God is leading you. To get the ball rolling fill out a student leader application! (Application Link)

Sunday School

This opportunity is designed for students to connect with Jesus, adult leaders who love and care for them, and their friends as they study Scripture and learn how it makes a difference in their life.  Each Sunday morning from 9:30-10:30am students gather together in the Youth Center for fellowship and announcements before splitting into groups.

A designated person will be available in the Youth Center each Sunday to connect students to the various classes and small groups offered. Any student wanting to serve on Sunday morning will be required to give advance notice to the appropriate staff person. Please contact Rachel Wise ( ) for opportunities in Children’s Ministry. Contact Katherine Jordan ( ) for middle school opportunities, and with any questions about Youth Sunday School.


At Christ United, Confirmation is a journey through four experiences that begin in a student’s 6th grade year and conclude his/her 9th grade year. The goal of these experiences is to provide each student with opportunities to encounter Christ and grow in their faith. The culmination of this journey is  a sending forth of students who are living into the vision and mission of the church.
We encourage each family to participate in all four Confirmation experiences. Learn more about the Confirmation process.
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At Christ United, Confirmation is a journey through four experiences that begin in a student’s 6th grade year and conclude their 9th grade year. The goal of these experiences is to provide each student with opportunities to encounter Christ and grow in their faith. The culmination of this journey is  a sending forth of students who are living into the vision and mission of the church. To be clear, Confirmation and church membership are two separate things. Each participant can join the church at any point during their Confirmation journey. When the participant is ready to join the church, they will need to go through Discover Christ with the pastors. This is the path for membership for everyone wanting to join the church. At the conclusion of Discover Christ each participant will have the option of making a public profession in a future worship service.  This is a great way to celebrate what Jesus has done in their life and is doing in the life of our congregation.

Discover Christ is offered  on Sunday afternoons throughout the year. To learn more about Discover Christ and when your child could make a public profession, contact Catherine Hames at

 Regardless of a membership decision, our ministry staff would like to  encourage each family to participate in all four Confirmation experiences. As a parent, you play a critical role throughout this process by encouraging participation and by participating yourself.

  • Experience 1... Community 6th Grade Small Group
  • Experience 2… Love 7th Grade Letters
  • Experience 3… Serve 8th Grade Service Opportunities
  • Experience 4… Know 9th Grade Learning Community

Experience 1
6th Grade Small Group
Our first priority as a ministry is to see students plugged into a thriving small group. Small group communities gather once a week to process life together. They are typically composed of same gender, same grade students; and often times, these groups are made up of students from the same school. Each middle school small group is led by an adult and at least one high school student, who work to provide a safe space for your child to ask questions, process life, and step out in faith with others.

Middle school small groups typically meet on Wednesday nights from 6-7p, following the large group gathering in the Youth Center.

Students join a small group by completing a Small Group Covenant.

Experience 2
7th Grade Letters
Research indicates that kids benefit greatly from healthy relationships with adults. During year two we ask parents to look closely at the adults playing a significant role in positively shaping their child, identifying at least 20 people who can write a personal letter affirming their child's self-worth. Parents are encouraged to space these letters out over the course of the year.

Who plays a significant role in the child's life already?

  • A family member.
  • A coach.
  • A teacher.
  • A neighbor/family friend.
  • A girl/boy scout leader.
  • A small group leader.

Any one of these adults could be a potential mentor for your child. Maybe they already play a mentoring role in your child's life. These are the people we want you to contact. Ask them to write an old fashioned letter (sent via postal carrier) to your child. We encourage parents to stagger letters. The calendar below gives an example of what this might look like. Keep in mind your own child's calendar. Ask yourself "When would my child benefit from having a couple extra letters of encouragement?" Maybe the fall is really busy and difficult. Or maybe it's the spring. You know your child best. Create your child's letter schedule in a way that will make the biggest impact.

EXAMPLE SCENARIO:  Katherine is starting 7th grade at a new school in August. She is feeling a bit anxious about the change, so getting a few extra words of encouragement over the summer and at the start of school would help to ease some of that anxiety. She is pretty busy during the holidays, spending time with family; so we will go with just one letter during the months of November, December, and January. She may need another boost in the spring as school resumes.

Month - # of letters received
June - 2           Dec - 1
July - 2            Jan - 1
Aug - 2            Feb - 
Sept - 2           Mar - 2
Oct - 2             Apr - 2
Nov - 1            May - 1

Our hope is that your child would end up in a “five to one” ratio by the end of his/her senior year of high school. We want every student in our ministry to have at least five adults who take a personal interest in positively shaping their life. By seeking out letter writers you are taking steps to identify some potential mentors for your child. These letter writers may very well be a web of support for your child far beyond their 7th grade year, playing a critical role in your child's long-term development.

Experience 3
8th Grade Service Opportunities
Christ set the tone for his followers by washing their feet. A parent who serves beside their child teaches that child what it means to be a man or woman who follows Christ in real time. During year three we ask families to engage in missions together. Service opportunities can be identified by the individual family according to the needs of their community, or they can be church sponsored events. Whether you choose to go out on your own, or join a larger group, we want you to experience serving alongside one another as a family at least twice over the course of your child’s 8th grade year.

 Service opportunities are EVERYWHERE. 
Helping an elderly neighbor with a project (yard work, computer issues, replacing lightbulbs, or fixing something they can't get to on their own, etc.); or taking time to visit with them (taking them to lunch, bringing lunch over, or simply sitting and listening to them tell stories about their life.)

Serving in the Children’s Ministry on Sunday mornings (Nursery, Sunday School, Worship).

Going to an assisted living facility - visiting with people, sharing music, or simply playing games with them.

Volunteering at a local after-school program.

Participating in church-wide special events.

Providing free child care for a parent(s).

Volunteering to help with VBX in the summer.

Taking a scheduled mission trip. 

If you find it challenging to come up with ideas on your own, contact the Missions office at 601-914-7109 or email

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A place to Connect

At Christ United, we understand the importance of connection. Our mission is connecting people to Jesus so that lives, families, and community can be restored. From the moment you walk up to the building you can expect…