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Youth Ministry Gets a Big Start at Grace Community Church

By John Fulton

Paul Goedert, new youth pastor at Vicksburg’s Grace Community Church, “is a breath of fresh air and new blood” said Senior Pastor Ed Courtney. “Paul has different life experiences than I do. His arrival has been prayed for in the church and now has been realized.”

Courtney had been wanting a youth pastor at the church almost from day one of his arrival at Grace Community. “Ministry costs money and the timing had to be right. GCC has been on a faith adventure for this to become reality in God’s timing. Our faith started to bear fruit when a parishioner came forward with an offering that would make the dream of a youth pastor possible.” Courtney referred to a biblical passage, Habaku 2:2: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.”

Moving to Vicksburg is a bit of a homecoming for Goedert and his wife of seven years, Stacy.

Stacy is originally from Vicksburg and a 2001 graduate of Vicksburg High School. She is the daughter of Dave and Sue Maneikis, a Vicksburg family known for operating Maneikis Electric for decades.

Their connection to Vicksburg was the beginning of a conversation between Courtney and Goedert to make GCC’s dream a reality earlier this year. The Goederts are moving from the Monroe area where Paul has worked in vocational ministry.

Courtney was looking for his “Timothy” to come alongside him and grow the youth ministry and be groomed for his replacement as senior pastor. Goedert will use his experience in youth ministry, worship and technology to reach youth and adults.

Goedert said, “He is here for the kids. But every kid is connected to a family and he wants to be there for the parents also. Church is a supplement to the parent’s efforts to raise their children in faith. Goedert wants to create an atmosphere that the youth will connect with their church, their community and their faith and realize the importance of reaching out to their friends and family.  Our youth face many tough environments and need a place to be comfortable to invite their friends to church.”

Courtney and Goedert have some ambitious plans to reach the youth of Vicksburg. The ministry plans will cost money, Courtney said, but they are linking their faith up together for the funds to be available. They hope to do some community service projects, a mission trip and expand church offerings to youth.

Currently there are break-out services for the youth during the adult services at GCC. On Wednesday nights at 6:30, there is a complete service for the youth. The kids can come early; there is time to socialize, play games, listen to music and bible study. There is also a separate bible study for adults at the same time

Pastor Goedert’s blog can be followed at The Sunday service is at 10:30 a.m. and is preceded by a bible study at 9:30 a.m. He pointed out that a fundamental question for every pastor and Christian is “How am I impacting my community for Christ?”

“The youth has to know that you love them and when a relationship develops, then their hearts can be won for Christ and they will experience the eternal difference Christ makes in their lives.” The church website and Facebook pages have more information at and

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