Photo/story courtesy of Barry Cleveland.
“We can create change in children’s lives,” Drew Flanagan told a Carmi audience Thursday, and in so doing change the world—a little bit at a time.
The new youth minister at First Christian Church was the guest speaker at Thursday’s weekly luncheon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Carmi, held at the Farm Bureau Building.
Lots of young people are living in bad situations and are very likely to follow the same paths of their parents, unless someone intervenes to help them, Flanagan said. “I love to share hope with them, and for me it’s hope in Jesus Christ,” he added.
A native of East Tennessee, the speaker said he went online to research Kiwanis prior to addressing the club, and he found this mission statement:
“Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.”
That mission nicely parallels his own, Flanagan told the club.
“I would love to partner with Kiwanis and help students see that there is hope,” he said. “That’s what I’ve been called to do.”
And he said, in response to a tongue-in-cheek question, that he has no desire to supply Kiwanian Greg Grant as the head of the church’s ministry team. Working with students is his passion, the speaker said.
Flanagan is a native of Seymour, Tenn. His wife, Emily, is originally from Morristown, another East Tennessee community. The couple and their 8-month-old son, Aiden, relocated to Carmi after serving at a church in suburban Atlanta, Ga. (in the community of Hampton). They were both on the staff for 3 ½ years, he told the club, and he served in the music ministry, as well.
Emily is now working full-time as a stay-at-home mom, Flanagan added.
Both are graduates of Johnson Bible University (formerly Johnson Bible College), a Knoxville, Tenn. institution that has furnished several graduates to the FCC ministry over the years.
Flanagan said he likes to hunt, fish and hike, as well as to play his guitar and sing—and to build. “I have a lot of hobbies,” he said, adding that he doesn’t really excel at any of them.
The speaker is the commissioner of a fantasy football league, but he admitted that his team has only two victories this season—one of them over Emily’s team. Prodded by Kiwanian Denton Aud, he admitted that the state’s attorney’s team is leading the league.
And Flanagan said he may fare no better in the football fortunes of his favorite collegiate team, the Tennessee Volunteers, who are suffering through a subpar season.
The speaker was introduced by Greg Grant, and his address followed a meal prepared and served by Yesterday’s.
Chris Myers won the weekly 50-50 drawing, splitting a jackpot of $30 with the club.