It seems there was a laundry list of things keeping my friends at Glencliff from coming to our Young Life club in town and ultimately hearing about a God who perfectly knit them together and a Savior that came to save the world. Lack of transportation, language and cultural barriers, and location just names a few. I have been praying for my friends since the day I walked through the doors that the Lord would bridge those barriers and my friends could have the same wild, giggle filed, holy club experience the rest of my Capernaum friends in Nashville get every Monday. The Lord laid on my and other Capernaum leaders hearts that club doesn’t matter location. It matters content. So we brought the club to them.
Because most of the students relied on school transportation, we had to have club during the school day. Before or after could not happen with bus schedules. This was both a win and a challenge. A huge gift of hanging out in the Life Skills class and my relationship with the teacher was his openness to having new faces in his class. For him, any people or activities I had in mind were a win because it meant more exposure for his students and the community. Not to mention, when I pitched the idea of filling a whole hour of activity for his class (an hour for him to catch up on paperwork, that he didn't have to plan, and could maybe eat lunch in silence) he was all aboard.
There are countless tricky parts of club in a public school. Of course the biggest- explicitly proclaiming the name of Jesus. We had three clubs for the Spring Semester- one per month. We picked subjects we felt would specifically speak to desires of our friends while alluding to something more. The subjects included:
- Friendship: why we are there, why do we need it, and there is a perfect friend
- Made on purpose for a purpose: you were created perfectly and with a story in mind
- Love: you are loved beyond imagination and you are chosen daily because of it
Not being able open the word, sing content songs, or speak freely of Jesus is definitely not the dream. But for us in this season with Glencliff, an in-school club felt like a really sweet cracked door. We were able to call it Young Life- something to associate to. (which they ended up calling “a Young Life party”). We were able to use it as a stepping stone to invite them to day camp- which two attended and were able to get the authentic YL experience.
- Transforming the room into club was my most favorite part of this experience. We planned for when the students would be coming back from lunch so that when they reentered the room it would be a whole new experience. We put name tags on in the hall, had someone passing out raffle tickets at the door, and they entered the room with loud music played from a portable speaker and leaders cheering. They were celebrated as they came in and cheered for. This is what Capernaum is all about.
- We stayed as true to club as possible: we had a skit, announcements, games, songs, raffle and talk.
- We played YouTube video dance songs on their projector (whip, Juju on the beat etc) as our fun songs and subbed content songs for songs like “Lean on Me” and “World’s Greatest” that related back to the talk. If you have someone that plays the guitar- that really blew my friends away. A CONCERT IN SCHOOL
- Games were easy to clean up and minimal prep
- The teacher allowed for us to use his computer and projector but we brought bluetooth speakers and adaptor cords.
- We had a treat at the end to reinforce sitting quietly for the talk- they are in school mode..but its also a party!!
- We had “cabin time” at the end of every talk. This allowed for us to reinforce ideas and hear their feedback. This would be a great time to differentiate groups by communication need. It was also really cool because traditional peer helpers contributed to conversation
- Lots of prayer. We always depend on the Holy Spirit to move the hearts of our friends, but it felt even more so with having to rely on Him speaking between the lines and stirring the hearts for something more
What a gift it is that Young Life is not stationary. It’s not a place or a time. How lucky we are to serve a God that allows us to be creative in proclaiming the gospel!