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Teens' spiritual venture amplifies area youth

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Updated: 7/30/2013 11:05 am
BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — At first glance, it might not look all that different from any other Christian youth event.

After all, it has a catchy name -- Amplify -- and young people involved in its production.

"It’s structured. I mean, we have worship, then someone comes and speaks, and then we have the invitation," volunteer Chloe Eubank said.

However, no adults are in charge here. This is by teenagers, for teenagers.

"I know it’s hard for some people to get into the church scene, but through this we feel as though this can get them planted into a home church," junior Jack Simpson said. "And we plan on doing this all the way through high school."

Simpson and fellow student Billy Stone started Amplify, an outreach ministry for teenagers, using music and technology to make the services a little more accessible.

"We tweet about upcoming events, you know, times, places, who’s going to be people stay in the know," Stone said.

Simpson and Stone are also high school football players, and like it or not, there’s pressure there from others because of what they’re doing.

"The pressure isn’t really, ‘Why are you doing this? This isn’t a good idea.’ It’s living out what you do in school and everything," Stone said. "It’s really more on myself to practice what I preach."

Some in the community say they're surprised by that.

"For two football players to take a stand like this, it just means the world to me and other people," resident Tina Houston said. "That’s not the perception that we get from football players, and they’re using themselves to reach people, and it’s just amazing to me. They’ve already made such a difference in this community."

Instead of going out on weekends, the teens plan out their shows, which take place each month at a different area church.

Though they’ve had dozens of people come to see what Amplify is all about, making it popular isn’t Jack’s goal.

"I want to make an impact on people's lives," Simpson said. "I'm not as concerned with numbers as I am individuals.
I want to see the gospel shared with as many high school students as we can."

Houston says it’s almost a bit of role reversal for her as a parent.

"I feel like I’m supposed to be setting examples for them, but instead they’re setting examples for me," she said. "These guys aren’t letting distractions get in their way. Guys, girls...the whole group. They’re truly focused on what they’re doing."

And Stone says he thinks they’ve only seen a glimpse of what they can do.

"It gives me strong encouragement, you know. We’ve only been doing this for six months. What’s God gonna do with us next?"
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