FutureNow is a high-energy, high-impact, school assembly production of live music, drama and real-life stories. Its team of 15 people, some volunteers, recently returned from Scotland, where the vision for the ministry was birthed 13 years ago.
The message FutureNow brings to the students is simple, but powerful: The decisions you make today — drugs, alcohol, sex — will affect your futures.
“We’ve been in about 140 schools in North Florida and South Georgia,” said Terri Musgrove, who co-founded FutureNow with her husband, Chris.
“We have been into 20 states,” Chris added. “We have been invited to several other countries to train them what to do. Scotland was our first. We’ve been to Haiti, Mexico, Canada and have done some stuff in England.”
“If we had more support, we could develop more teams to reach more areas,” Terri added.
Music and drama are the tools FutureNow uses to catch the attention of the students so they can minister to them, Terri said.
The Musgroves were youth pastors for 17 years.
“We really believe getting the kids plugged into the local church is important,” Chris said.
The idea for FutureNow came about when the Musgroves took their church youth group to England and Scotland in 1998. They flew into Manchester, rented a bus and drove to Liverpool, where they stayed a week, and then on to Scotland for a week.
“While we were in Liverpool, we were invited to a school and were told that John Lennon had gone to this school,” Chris said.
“The school asked us to do a program, and we told them we were Christians, and it was a Christian program, thinking there was no way we would be allowed to do a program. They said that’s fine and said that we could even ‘make a plea,’ which is what we call an invitation.”
Chris was wary, but they did an hour-long program of Christian music, drama and testimonies.
“We did an invitation (to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior), and one young man got out of his seat and came to the front. You could tell he was moved. To our surprise and dismay, a lot of the students started laughing. So after I quieted them down, I didn’t know what to say.”
Chris said the Holy Spirit came over him, and he said to the students, “They told me John Lennon went to this school, and (Lennon) said that the Beatles would be more popular than Jesus Christ. But John Lennon is dead and in his grave, but Jesus rose from His grave, and that’s Who this young man has come to receive.”
About two-thirds of the kids got our of their seats and came to the front, “responding to the Holy Spirit,” Chris said.
One of the young people in the Musgroves’ youth group said, “Why can’t we do this back home?”
Because it’s against the law in the U.S., Chris replied.
“But isn’t there something we can do?,” the youth asked.
And thus FutureNow was birthed and put into operation three years later.
While the group has a daytime program in schools promoting the right choices, its program at night is Christian-themed, Chris said.
“We partner with Fellowship of Christian Athletes at night,” he said. “That’s where we can come in and do a salvation message.
“Instead of focusing on the problem, we like to talk about having a plan. I’ve worked with young people 26 years. We’ve seen that drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, gangs, violence and failing grades are not the problem. They are symptoms of a bigger problem — no vision for the future. Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Without a vision, the people shall perish.’ I’ve learned to paraphrase that, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll take every road.’”
The first FutureNow program was held in April 2001 at Suwannee High School in Live Oak, Fla., where Chris grew up.
In addition to the 10th year anniversary of FutureNow, the Musgroves are celebrating Chris turning 50 this year, Chris and Terri’s 25 years of marriage, and the impending birth of twins this month, a gift from daughter Kasey Musgrove Burk and her husband, Josh.
Kasey was a big part of FutureNow, as is the other Musgrove children, Christian, 20; Victoria, 16, a homeschooled junior with dual enrollment at Wiregrass Georgia Tech; and Isaac, 12, a student at Community Christian Academy in Adel. Christian and Victoria preceded the family to Kilwinning, Scotland, Aug. 14, and trained youth leaders there in drama and music.
“When we came over two weeks later, we went into about 15 religious education classes and were able to do skits and speak and invite them to the night event,” Terri said.
About 200 students attended their night event two days later.
“That’s where we present the salvation message, and we had 18 respond to the altar call. Over there, it’s really different because so many kids don’t go to church and don’t know who Jesus is. When we came to the school assembly programs, it helped us to connect with the students so they wanted to hear more of what we had to say.”
“It makes a difference when you personally invite them to come,” Victoria added.
The Scottish students asked some tough questions: “Why do you believe in God?” “How do you know there is a God?”
Terri said out of the 18 who responded to their message, it was the first time nine of them had ever come to church.
Mark Fraser, youth pastor of The Bridge Church in Kilwinning, Scotland, which sponsored FutureNow’s trip there Aug. 29-Sept. 8, accompanied the Americans as they presented their program to the classes.
Fraser asked the students how many of them go to church, and no one raised their hands.
When he asked how many don’t believe in God, about half raised their hands.
“It seemed like they got that from their parents,” Chris said. “Those who had been to church once or twice in the last few years had gone with their ‘grands.’ It’s two generations who haven’t gone to church.”
The FutureNow team saw all age groups sixth to 12th grades.
“I went outside the school, and I saw a group of kids smoking, and a kid 11 or 12 was asking for cigarettes, and they were giving them to him,” Victoria said.
“The drinking age is 18, but everybody over there smokes and drinks. It was hard getting kids to come out (to hear FutureNow) on the weekends because they said they had parties to go to.”
One of the teachers at the Scottish school was a student herself when FutureNow came there in 2004.
“She was excited to see us,” Chris said. “She stood up and shared how the FutureNow program had impacted her. She was a wonderful teacher. She blessed us.”
FutureNow left their sixth trip to Scotland knowing that a total of 20 Scottish students had come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those interested in contacting FutureNow may e-mail email@example.com or write to the ministry at P.O. Box 2980, Valdosta, GA 31604.