Spreading the faith at Thompson High School

Among the hundreds of Thompson High School students chatting about football, class and weekend plans Oct. 2, the quiet sound of prayer and musical praise emitted from the school’s auditorium.

While many high school students’ early morning routine involves fast food breakfast and frantic homework-completing sessions, about 25 Thompson classmates meet every Friday for a much different reason.

“Everyone here just wants to grow in their faith,” said Taylor Gallups, a Thompson High School senior and founder of the school’s Closing the Distance club. “We just want more of the Lord.”

Three years ago, Gallups decided to create the faith-oriented group after he heard a Christian speaker preach about spreading God’s message, the high school senior said.

“Thompson didn’t have a club like this before this one. We’re original,” Gallups said. “The school has been really good about helping us have a place to meet before school and everything.”

Gallups, Bevin Clark and Lizzie Hardin work each week to organize a “mini-church service” every Friday morning. During the meetings, the students hold musical praise sessions, bible studies and hear short sermon-like messages before classes begin for the day.

All Closing the Distance meetings are entirely student-organized.

“We all get positive reinforcement from our parents, and the people who come to the meetings always say good things,” Gallups said. “We like it being an entirely student-run club.”

Though the Friday meetings this year have regularly drawn about 25 people, Gallups, a member of First Baptist Church of Alabaster, said he expects attendance to skyrocket after football season.

“We had a pretty good turnout today, but we actually had about 150 people in here at one time,” Gallups said shortly after he shared a message about seeking God’s help when dealing with daily struggles. “It gets crazy around here during football season, and with homecoming and everything. We usually get more people after all that is over.

“We just all heard about other schools having clubs like this, and we felt like we could do something like that too,” he said.