Pulse Student Ministries held a kickoff event for the 2019-2020 school year and the turnout was incredible – 119 students ranging from 5th graders through seniors in high school. The plan was simple: play games (bags, 9 square, spikeball, etc) and cookout burgers and hot dogs. The night was a success. The students had fun, the leaders had fun, and there seemed to be no problems.
As leaders, we left the night excited and energized about the atmosphere, but why did we feel this good? What’s the big deal? What’s the big deal that we got a large turnout of students for some free food and games? That doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? WRONG. The atmosphere and community of Sunday night sets the tone for the year. When our students get together and have fun, it sets the heart of the group. Ready to praise, ready to grow, ready to love, ready to serve, and ready to yield.
Life Change, Life Growth, Life Purpose
When we talk about Life Change, Life Growth, and Life Purpose, it is God who does the work when we allow him to live in and through us. There is no age limit on this. He doesn’t check your ID or ask you to submit your high school diploma. He is actively pursuing our students without hesitation and that is a big deal.
In 1 Timothy 4: 12, Paul tells Timothy,
“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.”
At this point, Timothy was not young as our students are young, but the message rings loud. Our students don’t need to be in worship or engaged in a lesson to live this charge out. As I watched and listened at the Kickoff; it was clear this example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity was set. It wasn’t set in a worship room or with open Bibles (don’t worry, we’ll open them plenty this year), but rather, the example was set over burgers and yard games. That is a big deal.
Paul later writes in 2 Timothy 2: 20-21,
“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
Allow God To Work
We want the students to allow God to work in them and surrender themselves to be “instruments for special purposes”. With that comes the need to cleanse, to step away from what’s common. All we did was provide food and games. The students chose to step away from their “common” to have a little fun and most importantly, cleanse and prepare their hearts to grow.
We will be moving into a series over the next four weeks titled, “What’s the BIG deal?” where we will dive into what the big deal is for our students navigating some of this world’s biggest confusions and temptations. For now, a cookout and some games provided much more than a few laughs and a full stomach. And yes, it was a big deal.