by Sherrie Norris
In today's world, many people find it refreshing to hear about young people who are committed to sharing their faith and being bold for God.
In the High Country, that commitment is centered on Generation eXcellent, an interdenominational group of homeschooled children (current and graduated), who have a genuine passion for Christ, and a love for music and drama.
For nearly a decade, the group has found its way around the area and beyond with the guidance of group founder, Pam Miller.
As a multitalented mother of homeschoolers -- a teacher, pianist and former choir director who loves music -- Miller initially decided to add a new dimension to a local homeschool association in which her family participated.
What began as a weekly choir has since evolved into a traveling ensemble, that not only reflects the faith and personal testimonies of the participating students, but also that of our country's Founding Fathers.
"At first, we were a weekly choir that did two public performances each year," Miller said.
The group eventually changed from the homeschool group and became a ministry of its own with numerous engagements far and wide, she said. "God just laid it on my heart to take it farther," she said.
Today, Generation eXcellent is more like a community choir and drama team, Miller said, but one in which tryouts are not required.
"If they just love the Lord and love to sing and act out scripts, that's all that's required," she said.
She does expect a commitment, she said. "I interview the youngster who expresses interest in us, as well as his or her parents and family, to make sure we're all on the same page. There is a lot of commitment involved," Miller said.
And commitment is not a problem.
"Some of our members have been with us from the beginning," she said. "Some have jobs and other obligations, but they work around their schedules to be involved."
The group practices from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Mission Home Baptist Church in Fleetwood.
"When we are planning for a special performance, those rehearsals can easily go from four hours to eight," Miller said.
The youngsters work hard to memorize lines and songs as a group and individually at home, too, she said adding, "I work them a little hard at times, but we want to be our very best for the Lord."
Miller, who is assisted in the ministry by her husband, Jeff Miller, said she loves working with young people.
"Currently, our members range in age from 12 to 22," she said. "I know some are now adults, but I still call them my kids."
Based in Ashe County, Generation eXcellent has a far-reaching arm and is open to new members (age 8 and older) and performing opportunities from neighboring counties.
The group routinely participates in local and regional church and community events: annual National Day of Prayer services, the annual Walk for Life at Ashe Pregnancy Center and others such as those hosted by the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
On Monday, May 26, Generation eXcellent will provide a program in conjunction with the MOAA's Memorial Day Ceremony at the Boone Mall.
The group's "regular 90-minute" patriotic performance, 'I Love This Land,' will be abbreviated to about 20 minutes on Monday, Miller said.
"They will be dressed in costumes from various periods in history as they tell the story through skits and song that will remind you of our country's roots in Christian faith. It is a dramatic multimedia experience," she said.
It's an honor to be on the schedule for Monday's ceremony, Miller said.
""We love to do a tribute to our American history and to our military personnel, whether veterans or those currently serving," she said.
With most of her group participates in both the choral and acting aspects, she said both are not required.
"Some prefer just to sing and others just like to do the skits," she said.
Miller said she is blessed to lead Generation eXcellent, adding, "We deliver a tremendously, powerful message that we want everyone to hear."
Her heart's desire, she said, is to see the group expand upon opportunities to share the good news with others.
"We hope to be available in many other places across the region and state to share what God has done for us," she said.
As part of their ministry the group also collects items for care packages they prepare and send to soldiers overseas.
"We also work with Operation Christmas Child," she said. "Our Christmas programs are dedicated to collecting shoeboxes and having a prayer of dedication for each box collected."
Generation eXcellent does not charge for its appearances, rather it counts on the generosity of others, in addition to its own fundraising events, to help support the ministry.
For more information or to request a demo DVD: call (336) 877-3440, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit http://www.asheconnect.com/genx/.