A local pastor has a goal to build a spiritual foundation to bring young people into the church by introducing a new youth program later this summer.

The Rev. Roscoe Harrison Jr., pastor at Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple, will introduce “Becoming,” a concept to motivate and encourage youth to be career and Christian-oriented. An organizational meeting to pull a leadership team together will take place 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at the church.    

Harrison said “Becoming” is an umbrella program he is getting off the ground with the hope it will draw more young people to the church.

“Right now we have a problem with bringing youth into the church,” he said. “And when I say ‘the church’ I’m not talking about my church; I’m talking about the church in general. Youth participation is down, and we want to offer programs to our youth that will not only be spiritual, but also will be educational.”

“Becoming” will offer motivational speakers and role models to come and speak to youth about careers and how the church is a spiritual foundation to reach their goals. Harrison said the target age for the program is predominantly middle and high school students. Some of the outreach ministries he wants to promote include Bible Clubs, career motivation, youth trips, artistic appreciation and birthday blessings.

“It’s a concept that really I believe the Lord gave me, because one day I was just thinking, ‘What can I do to increase youth interest in the church?’” he said.

He said the idea was inspired by Proverbs 22:6, which states “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Harrison said the program is also meant to encourage students to visit libraries, museums, and other places that will let them know there are plenty of things around them they need to be exposed to.

He also said “Becoming” is meant to educate youth to the resources available to them, but with a spiritual foundation.

“I want to bring in role model-types,” he said. “I want to bring in people to talk to them about careers, like a police officer or a firefighter or maybe someone that works in healthcare – a nurse or a doctor – that kind of thing, and have them to talk to these kiddos.”

Harrison also said he has retired teachers in his church and people who can be great role models for children. He said he wants to have a team of leaders involved in the concept.

He said kids can’t be forced to go to church, so he’s trying help them want to be engaged.

“Today, you have to cultivate an interest,” he said. “And I want to cultivate that kind of interest.”