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Youth pastor follows the path of his mentor

August 28, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Jordan Dow's youth pastor was a major force in his life when he was in high school in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

"He helped me in my growing up," Dow said.

As the new youth pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Chapel west of Hagerstown, Dow intends to return the favor to any young people he encounters.

Dow, 22, brings to the job an air of maturity that extends well beyond his years.

"My ministry involves the whole Tri-State community -- Christian schools, public schools, home schools," Dow said. "My calling is for the youth of America."

He came to the church in June, just as the congregation's young people were headed off to camp.

"It was the camp in Indiana that I had attended," Dow said. "And when they got back, they said they couldn't wait to go again."

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Dow will work closely with Emmanuel Christian School, which opened last year, even though he doesn't have teaching credentials.

"I could teach Bible classes," he said.

He will spend time in the pulpit at the growing congregation, which is led by the Rev. Larry Aikens.

"I have been doing some preaching, and I love to preach," Dow said.

That was one of the first clues for Dow that his future would be entwined with his strong belief in pursuing a religious life and helping others do the same.

"I knew I wanted to be a preacher when I was in high school," Dow said.

His youth pastor, Kurt Copeland, was his inspiration and encouraged him to enroll first in the Franklin Road Christian School and then in Champion Baptist College in Hot Springs, Ark.

Dow earned his bachelor's degree in youth ministries.

"I began looking and praying for where the Lord wanted me to go," Dow said.

Copeland knew Aikens and learned there was an opening at Emmanuel Baptist Chapel.

Dow and Melissa Beech, his middle-school sweetheart, recently became engaged. Dow said they plan to marry in 2010.

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