First Priority began, informally, in 1990 with local youth minister Benny Proffitt as the visionary and leader. First in only a handful of over the mountain schools, the vision quickly formalized into a functioning non-profit organization in 1992 under the leadership of businessman Tommy Brigham. Over the years to follow, First Priority exploded, practically, on every High School and Middle School campus in Greater Birmingham. From the late 1990s through the late 2000s, First Priority of Greater Birmingham served these schools and focused on making ministry at each school the best it could be.
First Priority of Greater Birmingham flourished for many years under the leadership of Board Chairmen Tommy Brigham, Garry Ard, Mark Peeples and Tom Lambert. Executive Director Greg Davis, who first volunteered with the organization in 1994, joined the staff in 1996 and continues today as President and acting Executive Director of the organization. From that small group of men, the vision of First Priority spread like wildfire. Six schools have now grown into over 200 in central Alabama alone, involving approximately 13,000 students every week during the school year. As more churches began implementing First Priority in their communities, the movement spread outside Alabama. As a result, Benny Proffitt left Birmingham to form First Priority of America, which has now touched all 50 states.
Here’s what’s happening with First Priority across the United States:
- 200+ communities being touched by First Priority
- 2,605 First Priority clubs in the U.S.
- 186,000 Students attend First Priority each month
- 7,715 commitments to Christ during the 2014-2015 school year
- 2,500 networked student ministry leaders and churches
In the late 2000s, with the dip in the economy and loss of funding, First Priority was forced to reduce its staff and, therefore, began losing effectiveness in many of the communities that had been served for years.
In 2011, with the culture changing and more and more parents asking First Priority to help them establish campus evangelism for younger children, the idea of FPKids became imperative to accomplish. We are now in our fourth year of implementing FPKids, a strategy for churches and parents to partner together around schools to empower elementary and intermediate students to influence their school with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last year, 35 schools and nearly 3,500 students participated in FPKids, and the numbers continue to rise this year as new clubs are starting. The FPKids strategy focuses on teaching students to know and do what “Jesus Said.” The curriculum consists of four parts that are repeated every month: Read It, See It, Live It, Tell It. Each month, students Read and learn what Jesus Said; they See how His teaching changes them and the marks it leaves on them; they experience real ways to Live out the truth with love; and they encourage each other to Tell others about Jesus. FPKids is taking God’s Word and putting it into action on campus.