Every year I see God working on people at this event. Three students in particular this year had stories from Believe that have rocked our church in the months since our weekend experience.
Jenna Dailey – A growing trend we’re seeing in our youth ministry is high school students who want to serve as sponsors and volunteers at events for their younger peers. Sophomore Jenna Dailey was one who remembered how awesome Believe was when she was in junior high, and she wanted to invest in the younger students. She was awesome, the kids connected with her and it made the youth leaders very proud to see this ministry at work.
Jason Towell – All of the youth leaders and adult sponsors agreed the identity dog tags from this year’s Believe program triggered big moments with the students. Toward the end of the event we as adult leaders were encouraged to write a word on each student’s dog tag – a word of significance that described something unique we saw in them or some way we saw God living through their lives. I wrote “wisdom” on the dog tag of eighth grader Jason Towell because that’s what I saw in him, even though he was shy and hardly ever spoke in a group setting. It must have inspired him because ever since we came back from Believe he has shared much more in our small group, and everyone is loving it.
Emery Jones – It’s tradition after Believe to give our students the opportunity to share with the church what they learned. Emery Jones – a seventh grader who is a leader and seemingly strong kid – opened up about some struggles she’s been having for the past couple years. She was thinking terrible things about herself and it was really shocking to a lot of people. She said Believe helped her see her identity in Christ, and the junior high students applauded her when she was finished. For them to see her open up like that – show them that they’re not alone in their insecurities – was huge.
CIY does a great job connecting with students – whatever the age group and wherever they’re at spiritually. We send our kids to Believe, SuperStart and MOVE because no matter if it’s the student’s first time at CIY – or for us youth leaders who grew up going to CIY – God is working on everyone who is there. That’s what I’ve seen. It makes my job so easy knowing it’s going to be an awesome time each year. All the programming, scheduling and fun that is incorporated in these events connects students to God. It worked for me, and I see it working on my students.
Josiah Brock is the leader of student ministries at First Christian Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.