Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Frank Shimkus”

5 Reasons Your Student Needs to be at Impact Weekend

main image

Every year in March, the 803 Student Ministry hosts Impact Weekend, the equivalent to an apologetics weekend.  We’ve taken on some hard topics (reliability of the Bible, resurrection of Jesus, creation v. evolution, etc.) to prepare our students for their life now, college life to come, and the adult years beyond. 


We believe truth has nothing to hide and can be scrutinized, put to every sort of test, and still hold up.  At this year's Impact Weekend (March 3-5), we are going to tackle the issue of tolerance, pluralism, and the exclusive claims of Jesus. 

As good and helpful as we believe that is for our students, Impact Weekend offers much more.  So, with that said, here are my top 5 reasons why your student needs to attend this awesome event.


#5 – The Plex

We rent the entire place out for ourselves.  All of our students will have equal time on the ice skating rink and the hi-wire course.  After a full weekend of intense Bible study, it’s always a good idea to let loose and get some exercise in.  Our students always love this part of the weekend.


#4 – The Host Homes

Each grade and gender will be assigned to a different host home.  Wonderful people in our church will be opening up their homes to provide warm hospitality and a great learning environment for our students.  Not only that, but our students love the great breakfasts the host homes make on Saturday morning. Being in a host home for the weekend in town always heightens the overall experience.


#3 – The Interactive Lessons

We have two in-depth lessons planned for the students in the host homes, which include challenging videos that accompany the curriculum.  We write our lessons in house and also create a DVD that goes along with the lessons, something we only do for Impact Weekend.   These lessons will be educational but also prompt lots of discussions, some of  which often go on for hours because the students have so much to say on the topic.


#2 – The Workshops

Three years ago we added a new element to our Saturday afternoon schedule: several workshops from which the students can choose to attend.  This year students will be able to choose to attend two out of our three offered workshops, all of which will be testimonies from people who used to practice a certain religion.  The workshops will be the following:

  1. Ex-Mormon Testimony
  2. Ex-Hindu Testimony
  3. Ex-Buddhist Testimony

Later on Saturday night, all the students will attend a service where we will be hearing a woman’s story who came out of Islam.  All of the testimonies are going to be outstanding!


#1 – The Panel

On Sunday morning we will be hosting a religious panel with an active Christian, an active Hindu, an active Buddhist, and an active Mormon.  We are going to hear directly from them if they even think all religions are the same and equally valid ways to God.  I am going to be asking them challenging questions and then our students will be able to listen and evaluate, based on all that we taught them during the weekend.



Currently we have over 240 students signed up and nearly 70 adult leaders and volunteers.  This is shaping up to be possibly our largest Impact Weekend ever!  If your student hasn’t signed up, hopefully I have given you five very good reasons why they should. This Sunday, February 26 is the last day  to register!




In Christ,


Frank Shimkus
Student Minister

Posted by Frank Shimkus with

Frank's Top 5 Local Eats

main image

I’m from Scranton, Pennsylvania, a place where the Mom & Pop culture still lives.

Every single time I go back to Scranton, I stop by Nickie’s Fabulous Hoagies and pick up my favorite foot-long sub for $2.50--that’s right, you read that correctly--pay in cash (I heard a rumor they just got a Visa machine), and talk life with the owner. Mom & Pop culture is part of my DNA, so when I first moved to Columbia in 2010, I found a local and asked the most important question one can ever ask any local of any place: “Where are the best local places to eat?”

He gave me a list of 100 places, a list I checked off very early into my time here at Shandon.  Once I exhausted his list, I began to search for the most obscure holes-in-the-wall I could find, with one place being so secretive that the guy who took me there said he was sworn to secrecy not to tell anyone its location (don't ask...I can't tell you either!).

Therefore, after enjoying a taste of the majority of Columbia’s cuisine, I have narrowed all the local eateries down to my top five. I have not included fine dining places, as that will be another list for another time. 

So, without any further delay, here is my overall top five: 


The. Best. Pimento. Cheese. Ever.  

This alone would place them in the top five, but their sandwiches, salads, desserts, and brunch are all out of this world.  From the moment I first stepped in DiPrato’s I was won over--not only by the ambiance, but also because they make a Vermont white cheddar pimento cheese.  Enough said. 


Any place that makes pasta and pasta sauce from scratch is worth mentioning, but this local restaurant, which started in Forest Acres, gets creative with its menu, has reasonably priced dishes, and possesses the ever famous creamy marinara.  It’s great for a date night or a just-because night. Pasta Fresca is all around a great restaurant. 


Yes, I know this place is technically in West Columbia, but it deserves a special exception.  I consider this to be the best local breakfast joint, hands down. I would write about the quality of the lunch and dinner menus, both of which are excellent, but I am only going to highlight the breakfast menu.

The Famous Hangover Hashbrowns by themselves could put this place on the top five. They are so good, in fact, that they were mentioned in a 2006 edition of Southern Living   magazine.  The flavor of the five or six varieties of coffee are as good as they smell, and, if you’re a pancake person, the cinnamon pancakes are as good as they get. If you haven’t checked out Café Strudel yet, put it at the top of your list for breakfast (or any other meal for that matter). 


“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”

There are so many things that I love about this place that I’m simply going to list them in bullet form:

  • The lunch line is out the door.
  • The owner, Glenn, is always behind the register in a white apron.
  • Most everything is made fresh the morning of.
  • It’s cash only which keeps prices down and the Mom & Pop feel alive.
  • The menu is very diverse (from salads to gyros to fried bologna).
  • There are Bible verses on every napkin holder & Gospel CDs at the counter.
  • It has a great local feel, underscored by  the mural of downtown Columbia.
  • There are great dessert options, most of which are made in house. 


I have taken dozens of people to Southern Belly, my culinary chef sister included, and almost all of the time they stop midway through the meal and look somewhat depressed.  At first I asked what was wrong, but now I know.  The reason undoubtedly comes back as this: They are sad it’s almost over.

Southern Belly smokes its own BBQ right outside, so as you pull up you see and smell the goodness.  The menu is simple – BBQ sandwiches – that’s it.  But these sandwiches are so good that Darley Newman, the host of “Travels with Darley,” a web series that has been featured on AOL, Amazon, Huffington Post, and MSN Travel, rated it the second best BBQ in the country!  You can read the full article here:

When you go to Southern Belly be sure to try as many of their in-house made sauces as you can.  My top two favorites are the Southern Belly sauce, a sweet and tangy white barbecue sauce, and the Rebel Red sauce, a sauce with a little bit of a kick. 

You simply cannot go wrong at Southern Belly.  If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on my top local place in all of Columbia.


Explore something new this week!

Why not invite someone you'd like to get to know better to join you? Great food is best enjoyed with great conversation.

What are your favorites?

Share them with me via Twitter @803highschool.

Frank Shimkus is the Student Minister at Shandon Baptist Church. In addition to local restaurants, Frank's favorites include Stephen Curry,  collecting Air Jordans, parenting  3 boys age 3 and younger with his wife Ericka, and discipling the students of Shandon to maturity in their faith.

Disclaimer: Frank's favorite  restaurants are his own opinions and are not an official endorsement by Shandon Baptist Church.
Posted by Frank Shimkus with