The following post is credited to See You at the Pole (SYATP). See You at the Pole™ is a global movement of prayer which is student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led. It revolves around students praying together on the fourth Wednesday in September, usually before school and usually at the school's flag pole.
Follow the events at @seeyouatthepole, #syatp, and #broken.
I fall on my knees before the Father. - Ephesians 3:14
When asked how to start a revival, a popular British evangelist said, “Go home. Lock yourself in your room. Kneel down in the middle of the floor, and with a piece of chalk, draw a circle around yourself. There on your knees, pray fervently and brokenly that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.”
The Apostle Paul, a murderer of Christians turned missionary for Christ, wrote to the church at Ephesus that he falls on his knees before his heavenly Father in a spirit of humility and brokenness, pleading for Him to move. Paul was never going to tell the church to be humbled before making sure he was humbled first! That is the key!
Today, we know there is cultural chaos, political unrest, division, and a downward spiral of morality. But darkness is just the absence of light. Our generation needs the spirit of Christ to fall down on us and shine bright. We are ripe for revival!
The psalmist wrote, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God” (Psalm 51:17). God desires an open heart ready to receive all He has. We can’t please Him by our outward actions, no matter how good we are, if our heart is not right with Him through Christ.
Do you feel the brokenness all around you? Do you want to experience the spirit of God falling on your campus? For that to happen, we must start with praying just like Paul to say, “God, start here in my life.” Break me, oh God. Let revival begin with me! When God has answered your prayer, the revival has begun!
At a youth prayer meeting, a little over a century ago, a young teenage girl named Florrie Evans rose to her feet and said, “I love Jesus with all my heart!” Immediately the Spirit of God fell in that place. That brokenness began to rapidly spread to students and out into the community like wildfire. Florrie’s simple, short confession of a humble, broken heart sparked a revival that eventually spread to five continents around the world! Yes, just one girl impacted her entire generation.
Cultural statistics are reporting we are either on the brink of a dark age in Christianity, or on the brink of a great revival. Repentance in this century can happen today! Revival in your generation can start with you!
Are you willing to be broken before God? Then draw your circle. Fall on your knees. Announce that you love Jesus. Let revival begin with your heart.
Let this be one step toward your higher calling!
In part one, I wrote about how easy it is for seniors to get distracted with drum rehearsals, AP classes, and homecoming floats. So hosting college planning seminar at your church, taking informal campus visits, and sharing important information on social media are ways youth workers can keep seniors focused on their college journey. You also need to
Challenge Seniors to Strengthen their Faith in Jesus
David played loud harp music, worked outdoors, took on challenges bigger than himself, made mistakes, failed and succeeded as a leader, sinned, and followed God with all his heart.
So will high school seniors.
So how can youth workers influence the spiritual lives of college-bound David’s?
Challenge them to attend church regularly – especially in the first two months of the school year. Why? It’s biblical (Hebrews 10:25)! Fuller Youth Institute researcher Kara Powell suggests that college students who do not join and begin attending a local church within the first six weeks of the semester, may not attend over the next four years. Seniors who serve will stay. Get them involved!
Challenge them to pray with and for one another. Pray about everything (1 Thessalonians 5:11). You can lead the way.
Challenge them to learn how to avoid (and respond) to temptation. It’s more than just running from temptation like Joseph from Potiphar’s wife. They need to learn how to stand firm, make wise decisions, be mature, and show self-discipline.
Challenge them to know who they are in Christ Jesus. Writing and reading their faith story will develop and strengthen their spiritual growth. Christian students who are not confident in their faith will lose their voice in a noisy college environment. Their faith story has three parts: before knowing Christ, the moment they put their faith in Christ, and after trusting Christ. Review it. Share it. Own it.
Challenge their beliefs. In my “I Believe” class, we discussed six major doctrines and examined the beliefs of our denomination, other denominations, and other religions. Then students wrestled with what they believed. Write it down. Share it out loud.
If our teenagers do not know what they believe when they begin college, there will be plenty of voices sharing theirs. School counselor and former youth worker Jen Lynch, said the best advice she gave her students was “the importance of putting a stake in the ground and deciding that you are going to follow Christ in college.”
Remember that Jesus hung out with people, talked about the future, and ate a lot of fish sandwiches.
Now grab some fish sandwiches and join the conversation!
Perhaps you’ve never stepped foot on a college campus or it’s been two decades since you’ve attended college.
Every youth worker can be a tremendous source of encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and have an eternal impact on college-bound seniors during the fall college admissions process.
We know that Jesus hung out with people (John 1:14), talked about the future, and ate a lot of fish. So as your seniors are excitedly talking about their future independence, grab a fish sandwich, and join the conversation when seniors start talking about college.
Encourage Seniors to Stay Focused on Their Journey
College planning can be confusing and stressful – especially for first-generation students and others who don’t know where to attend. They need a trusted youth worker to share advice.
When you’re at a tennis match, cafeteria table, or in the church parking lot, listen to their story. One Wednesday after worship service, Daniel and I began discussing his grades, his career choices and his college choices. He wanted to study music and shared that his dad wanted him to study something else. It was causing conflict in their relationship. So, I listened and encouraged him to consider God’s calling while respecting his parents. After a lengthy discussion, we prayed before he left.
Host a college planning seminar at your church. Invite college students, educational consultants, school counselors, and college admissions officers to speak.
Connect your students with other seniors who are scheduling official college visits, especially if they are still unsure about where (or if) they want to attend. Visiting a campus is an important step in the process.
Take an informal visit to a college campus. I was driving a group of students back from a leadership camp that was held at a private university campus. As we were nearing a Historically-Black College or University (HBCU), Albert asked if we could stop and visit. He was going to be the first person in his family to attend college and I wanted to encourage his options. So, we stopped for a thirty-minute, informal visit. It was a blast! Hearing his friends get excited about attending college was fun as well. After taking a few pictures near the entrance, we discussed their college future for the remainder of the trip. And yes, he was accepted to that HBCU (not the one pictured)!
Keep your seniors focused by asking career and college based questions. Start with these:
Share information about college planning through announcements or social media. Use this College Application Timeline to get started.
September – write essays, take tests, apply for scholarships (two each week), request recommendation letters
October – finalize college lists and essays, apply for financial aid
November – submit college applications, apply for more scholarships!
It is easy for seniors to get distracted with drum rehearsals, AP classes, and homecoming floats. Youth workers can keep seniors focused on their college journey and strengthen their faith in Jesus.
(Click here to read part two.)
Combining my youth ministry and educational consulting experience, I guide students to connect higher education with God's calling.