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04-21-2011


University of the Cumberlands student Rob Floyd: Using Faith and Film to Impact Lives

 


Rob Floyd, UC senior and religion major, shows a young teen from the Reclaiming Futures program how to make a necklace.

Williamsburg, Ky - Rob is in the zone—he moves swiftly from boy to boy, answering quickly-thrown queries.

“Hey! Rob! How do I make that knot again?”

 


UC senior Rob Floyd films a documentary for Reclaiming Futures at First United Methodist Church in Williamsburg, Ky.

“Rob, Rob! Come here and help me!”

Rob, a native of Rockholds, KY, takes it all in stride, with the patience of a much-older man. He darts from one boy to the other, occasionally finding time to pick up his camera and record one of them working. He stands close, then slowly backs away as he films, his brown eyes focused on his screen, getting the perfect shot. Quick as a flash his camera is back down and off he goes again, helping the boys tie square knots and string beads.

Rob is teaching a group of teenagers to make necklaces, and his snippets of film will be a part of a documentary that will show the importance of investing in relationships with troubled kids.

But, that’s not the only reason he’s here. He’s here because he cares about what happens to these boys.

First United Methodist Church in Williamsburg, Ky., is the meeting place of Reclaiming Futures, an after-school program for teenage boys who have gotten into legal trouble. The court appoints the boys to spend 3 to 4 hours every weekday with a group of therapists and volunteers who give them a safe environment where they can experience healthy, positive relationships with caring adults.

Rob Floyd is a senior and religion major at University of the Cumberlands (a Baptist university in Williamsburg that is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention), and was introduced to the Reclaiming Futures ministry one year ago when he was sent by his advisor to intern with Mike Albertson, pastor of First UMC. Albertson connected Rob with the program, a vital part of First UMC’s ministry.

“He would meet with me to fulfill requirements for the internship program, so I said, here’s a practical way to fulfill that,” said Albertson.

Rob’s involvement with Reclaiming Futures did not end when his internship did, however, and he stayed on as a volunteer, “even though he didn’t have to,” said Albertson.

“It’s been amazing,” says Rob. “Just seeing how you can make a difference in the community. I’ve had the opportunity to use my interests, my passion in film…I think if you seek God in doing the right thing He’ll open doors and let you use your passions.”

Rob’s two passions—film and faith—play a vital role in his dedication to the young men in the program.

“He has a passionate love for good film and good scripts and sees both as a great, effective way to share the gospel and help Christians grow in their faith,” says Dr. Bob Dunston, chair of the religion and philosophy department Rob’s advisor at UC.

This is exactly what Rob says he is trying to do with the documentary.

“I’m trying to capture what they (the boys) do…the nitty-gritty. I’m not trying to stage anything, I’m trying to capture what it’s really like, and try to show other churches and organizations what they can be doing, and what we can be doing, as people, to help,” he says.

The capability for this film to impact numerous people is large, says Mike Albertson.

“Every Methodist church in the United States is connected, and there is one in every county in the U.S., except 10. So the potential for this [documentary] to multiply and reach many is great,” he says.

Rob’s face tone is serious, but his body is tense with excitement and he smiles often as he describes exactly why it’s so important that people see these boys on film.

“I think when we look at trouble-making kids, we almost look at them as being in another class of people; like, we look down on them. But it’s been amazing seeing them, the things they do, ’coz I get ministered to by these damaged boys that people say are not going to have a future.”

For Rob, filming this documentary is a way that he has found to incorporate his love of film into ministry, something he plans to do in future. With plans to attend Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky., in the fall, he says he will always find ways to use his interest in film.

As he glides from boy to boy, filming, tying knots and building relationships, it is clear that he is acting on that promise.

“One of my professors, Geraldine Allen, said: ‘You don’t have to make all of your interests and your passions into a career,’ and you know, that really spoke to me. I don’t really care if I make money off of my film, it’s more about expressing myself creatively, using it to get people to think. It’s a ministry tool. That’s where my passion is.”