LARGO – The Rev. Gary Hunt, who has been the middle school pastor at the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks since 1987, has retired from church work to bring his ministry to the community.
Unclub Ministries Inc., a Christian nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the spiritual needs of middle school students, recently opened a temporary office at 11604 Seminole Blvd., in Largo.
In a press release, Hunt says he and his team of dedicated volunteers are looking for a permanent building in which to house a ministry that will offer an after school program, Friday night activities, regular Bible studies and special events. And everything, Hunt says, will be designed for middle-schoolers.
He knows the age group. As a youth minister, he has spent 39 years working with students in sixth through eighth grades. He and his wife have even written a book, “Surviving the Tweenage Years.” Though society has changed over the past 39 years, Hunt says that middle school kids still wrestle with the same basic issues.
“The middle school years are the years in which kids begin to pull away from their parents and establish their own identity,” said Hunt in a press release. “They are no longer children, but they’re not ready to be completely independent, either. We believe it’s crucial for kids to be surrounded by trustworthy adults who will teach them, guide them, and care about them while having fun with them. We believe it’s a sin to bore a kid.”
Unclub Ministries operates under the supervision of a seven-member board of directors, all of whom are local residents who care deeply about the students of Pinellas County. The group is kicking off the school year with an “Unclub Retreat” at Camp Kulaqua, located near High Springs, Florida. The three-day retreat will be held Aug. 10-12 and transportation to and from camp will be provided.