Jr. High -

What 30 seconds of ‘insane bravery’ can do —

By CIY Staff

Created on 09/25/2018

When you got a nickname like “Q-Tip,” “##### Q-Tip” and “##### Cotton Ball,” it might be hard to be taken seriously … except by a youth minister. Because, let’s face it, the youth minister probably has an equally ridiculous nickname, and he or she is probably even more proud of it than their students!

"We’re learning what God can do with just 30 seconds of insane bravery. "

Such is the case for Beth Swearingen, youth leader of the 712 youth group from Iowa who attended one of CIY’s Believe conferences earlier this year. The nicknames were just one example of various odd and sometimes uncomfortable situations that tend to be the norm with groups of Jr. high students. But instead of moaning about the awkwardness, Swearingen decided to embrace it. In fact, the entire theme of the weekend for her group was about learning how to get out of comfort zones. Swearingen said the group of 22 seventh and eighth graders were constantly challenged that weekend to say “yes” when faced with new opportunities. Not only did this provide a memorable experience – like when Tanner “##### Q-Tip” Gotto got to go up on the stage to play “Name That Move” with the Kalied Dance Crew – but triggered some spiritual awakening.


“We’re learning what God can do with just 30 seconds of insane bravery,” Swearingen said. “You never know what God can do with those moments.”


The Holy Spirit was undoubtedly in a moment with Jack “Q-Tip” White when he pulled his youth leader aside in a serious moment at Believe when students were asked if they were “Hot,” “Warm” or “Cold” in their relationships with God.


“He said ‘I want to be Warm but if I’m honest I’m Cold,’” Swearingen said. “I thought that was a most impressive moment for a young person. You could see the Spirit working in them … I was surprised and proud of Jack because he’s one of the leaders, and to have the other students see him moved was big. He doesn’t realize how much of an impression he makes on his group.
The kids don’t realize the influence they have on each other and the younger ones.”


Believe wasn’t even over before the group started asking to return next year to feel more life-altering moments from the intense worship and relatable teaching – like when speaker Jeff Walling uses striking visuals on the stage to represent God “WITH” us.


“The chairs illustration the speaker did really moved me, because I thought it was always us moving toward Him,” White said. “I changed my answer (from Warm to Cold) because there’s people at school who don’t believe and I don’t ever say anything about it.”


Believe’s “WITH” tour will conclude April 20-21 in Holland, Michigan. Find out more about Believe – CIY’s weekend conference for Jr. high students – here and don’t forget to follow along with the action @ciybelieve on Facebook and Instagram.


“It was a perfect weekend to line up where we are and where God wants us to be,” Swearingen said. “At the age they are, there is such power out of their convictions … I absolutely love Believe.”