What Happens When Students Run the Show?
This past month we have shifted our focus from doing ministry for students, to doing ministry with students. The things we’ve seen are incredible.
Our grade 9 leadership team has taken initiative to run youth nights in April. Our teens come up with the plan for the night and our job as adult leaders has just been to support our young leaders as they take the reins. Their creativity has come alive, along with their passion for God and for reaching those on the fringes. We’d like to share some of their stories with you …
A couple Thursdays ago we had a girl come to youth who was clearly upset. You could tell that life had worn her out; she was desperate and in need of help. One of our grade 9 leaders noticed this student and asked if we could pray for her. So we asked her if she wanted prayer and then retreated to the plant room where we could have a quiet space. This girl began to pour out her story to us. Stories of grief and strife of all kinds spewed from her lips. She was a broken, broken kid. The most heartbreaking thing was hearing her lay her heart before the Lord. She was so honest, and her heart was so tender. It was a beautiful moment I was blessed to experience. How much more does God’s heart burst when someone he loves comes to him, humbled and hurting, just asking to be embraced? Continually during this experience, I was so impressed with my grade 9 friend. Her prayers for her peer were remarkable, but she didn’t stop there. She also wanted to follow-up and asked if the girl had a Bible and if it was possible to be in contact to send some verses of encouragement. It was so cool to see this grade 9 leader step up. She wasn’t just along for the ride, she was full on doing ministry. And isn’t that exactly what church is about; doing life together!
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12
We’ve been seeing large numbers of outreach students coming from local schools. Many of these students don’t know Jesus yet, and don’t come from Christian homes, yet we see a curiosity and a hunger for more. They keep coming back, and they aren’t leaving unchanged. When we first started seeing these kids pop up, we found them sitting in circles chanting and offering sacrifice to Satan. Now, these same people are sitting together in circles praying in their public schools. They take requests and uplift one another in prayer daily. The change is significant. Last week, 2 of these kids asked me for Bibles. Even crazier, they are reading their Bibles and posting scripture all over social media. These teens are falling in love with Jesus, and they’re not afraid to show it. Talk about a turn around!
In addition to being in charge of the fun and games, our grade 9s also have been taking youth nights to a deeper level. We had our junior high worship team lead us in praise last week, and before that, one of our grade 9 students felt God calling them to share their testimony. Instead of piling around to hear James share, the students had the chance to hear from a peer. Her story was a roller-coaster of emotions. Her testimony was so diverse, I don’t think there was a single person who couldn’t relate in one way or another to what this student had been through. God definitely used her testimony to impact our students. The small group time afterwards was one of the most intentional times we’ve had as a group. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability. It was amazing to have kids open up and share parts of their own stories.
God’s up to something big, and he’s not doing it in a way we ever could have imagined. He is reaching teens through teens. It’s a beautiful thing to watch unfold before your eyes. I’m truly blessed to be part of doing ministry with kids, not just for them.