Easter season is here. It is a time of hope and renewal as Christians around the world rejoice, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But the world doesn’t always feel hopeful for many, especially our youth who struggle with many issues. But thanks to those in our community who are invested in our children, there is a path to learning more about God, religion and hope.
Scott Fitchett is a teacher at Sandpoint High School as well as the youth pastor at Cedar Hills Church in Sandpoint. He enjoys working with the younger generation in many capacities and finds his dual career fulfilling.
“The statistics are scary when it comes to young people and the church. I don't have a huge formula or a program [to bring them into the church], but what I do want to instill in young people is a firm belief in the truth,” said Fitchett. “Since the late enlightenment period in Western civilization, there has been an ever-widening gap between ‘facts’ and ‘values’ to the point where we have lost the idea of it even being possible for there to be objective truth about values. One of the things I want young believers to realize is that when they are committing to Jesus, they are committing to a worldview that believes in objective truth. I don't want to ‘wow’ kids with programming or play on their emotions. I want them to develop a deep-seated faith that guides every aspect of their lives.”
As adults, we all know the younger generation can change paths quickly. After all, we were once there ourselves. Whether it is the career they choose or the group they associate with, it is a time when even little decisions can have a lifelong impact—either positive or negative.
Fitchett was raised in Sandpoint, and his father and grandfather were both in the timber industry. “I always thought I would be a logger and hunting guide, but my senior year of high school my parents told me it was their dream for me to go to college, so I decided to give them a year,” said Fitchett. “I filled out an application to Corban University because my uncle paid me $50 to fill it out. In August, my parents were dropping me off there. They still joke that if I would have had a car I would have beat them home.”
The faculty asked him what he wanted to major in. “I said it didn't matter because I was only going to be there a year,” said Fitchett. “They then asked what I was interested in and I said ‘pastoral ministry and history.’ Long story short, they said it is easier to go from teaching to preaching than preaching to teaching, so they made me an education major and 15 years later I am still in education.”
But it was not until recently that Fitchett decided to also pursue his passion of pastoral ministry.
“When my wife Sage and I moved back to Sandpoint in 2013, part of the vision was leading the baseball program,” said Fitchett. “However, after a few years I was having what I call an existential crisis about the way we do youth athletics in our culture and wasn't sure it was where God wanted me to be.”
It was then that his friend Natasha Albertson called him about the Cedar Hills Church job. “I laughed at her, saying there was no way I could do that. But after exploring it and meeting Chase Tigert, who is now the head baseball coach at Sandpoint High School, I knew it was a move God had set in motion.”
Teaching part time at SHS and working with the youth in the community through his position as youth pastor at Cedar Hills Church has been nothing short of fulfilling.
Fitchett shares that he has been meeting with a group of young people for about 18 months, and it has been amazing to be a part of their journey.
“They represent at least five different churches in town, agnostics, atheists, high and low socio-economic status, athletes and academics—it’s a very diverse group,” said Fitchett of the eclectic backgrounds. “Watching them challenge each other and discuss the most important questions of life together has been special. They are all really inspiring.”
As a teacher, youth pastor and former coach, Fitchett appreciates the fact that he is a role model to many and can provide a lot of guidance. When asked what one life lesson he would like kids to take away from their teenage years, he responded, "Don't be afraid of failure. Be very afraid of succeeding at something that doesn't matter. It can be attributed to a lot of people, but DL Moody is who I first heard it attributed to.”
With the Easter season here, Fitchett said there are activities that he invites all youth to, and you don’t have to be a member of Cedar Hills Church to attend.
“Right before Easter we will have a pool party focused on the idea of baptism,” said Fitchett. “There has also been some discussion of possibly having the students run a gathering at Cedar Hills. It should be a lot of fun.”
If anyone is interested in learning more about the youth program or would like to help out, please contact Scott Fitchett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 208.610.4721.