Doing the Unspeakable

March 15, 2024


Fighting against the tide of peer pressure, Devon did what must have seemed impossible. As his pack of friends headed off to class, Devon hung back to help move tables and chairs.

I met Devon just a few weeks ago. He has become a regular at one of our local middle school clubs, even on weeks when his friends choose not to attend. Peer pressure is huge in middle school. I’m sure you know that, but like me, have tried to forget many of those difficult days. To choose to leave your friends and go to Campus Life is one thing, but Devon took an even bigger risk. Right there in front of his friends, he was going to do the unspeakable, at least in the middle school world. Devon told his friends to go on without him and that he was “going to help move tables and chairs with the adults.” Wow! You must be thinking that Devon is the confident, cool kid to stand against the mocking and jokes of his friends – but in fact, he was the exact opposite. Devon stands out, but not because he is super confident. He is a big kid and seems to struggle a bit to fit in. He’s a step slower than his friends, which makes him a target of their jokes. But any insecurities faded away that morning as Devon hung around to lend a hand. As I surveyed the group in action and the conversations between Devon and our leaders, something became incredibly obvious. He was starved for the attention our leaders provided. A few minutes of small talk made Devon light up with enthusiasm. He couldn’t get enough. We literally had to make him leave and head off to class.

A few minutes later, the Campus Life leaders met to debrief the day’s club meeting. We talked about what went well and how we might improve the next week. In the middle of the debrief one of the leaders said, “I have noticed how some of the kids like to stand next to me.” It seemed like a strange out of place comment until some else said, “Yeah me too. I thought maybe I was just imagining it.” This was followed by several who said, “me too.” It seemed we stumbled upon something so small, yet so significant. These kids who had tried our patience on more than a few occasions were now eager to just be near us. Then, it dawned on us that God was answering our prayer.

Week after trying week had led us to doubt we would have any impact on this massive group of middle school kids. Several weeks we had to ask students to leave who were not behaving. Another week we had to find additional teachers just to get control of the room. But each week, our leaders diligently showed up and asked God to break down barriers between us and the kids. Now two months into the school year we are seeing the answers to that prayer. This past week we had the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus. Our team estimates that 90% of the room was fully immersed in what was being shared. Trust me, that’s huge progress. And right there in the room where we weren’t sure we could have any impact, God did what only He can do. Several students said “yes” to Jesus.

Every morning of the week Youth For Christ leaders step onto middle school campuses with one ultimate desire, to see students embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ. Over 1,000 students participate in the Campus Life clubs at their middle schools each week.

Large numbers of these kids do not yet know Jesus or have a church home. In each club kids are loved, listened to, offered an opportunity to just to stand near and move a few tables and chairs. We need more leaders just like the ones in this story — leaders to share space and time in hopes of introducing more students to the Hope of Christ. If this is you, click here to join our team.