Hattiesburg man uses woodworking to teach teens life lessons.

No one expects life lessons to come from someone’s woodworking shop, yet the Mount Vernon Baptist Church believes that life lessons can come from unusual places. Several of its parishioners have put this belief into practice, offering lessons about life and Christian living in unusual settings. Shawn Shoe, one of the members of the congregation, does so in the woodworking workshop in his backyard.


Visitors to his workshop on a Sunday night would hear the usual sounds coming out of the garage of his Hattiesburg home. The occasional roar of a power tool is interrupted by prayer, singing or sometimes an impromptu talk. Shoe uses his woodworking skills to teach the youth of his congregation lessons about life and the gospels. The teens can also learn the basics of the woodworking hobby.


While many of the teens who visit Shoe’s Sunday night workshops will not go on to a career in the trades, Shoe hopes the other lessons will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Sunday School lessons are often presented in a dry, boring classroom environment. The classroom environment causes many people to turn away from Sunday School and to turn to secular activities.


Presenting these lessons in more interesting environments is what Shawn does as part of the Mount Vernon Groups Ministry. The church’s ministry, also known as MTVGroups includes more than just woodworking. Several such groups exist. Each group explores a different craft or profession and mixes in some life lessons along the way.