Middle school is a challenging time, and one thing that was a huge help to me during those years was my church community. Many middle school students lack a community of believers, or maybe just attend church every once in a while. YOKE reaches students and connects them to Christ and each other, and that’s why I chose to serve as the team leader in the brand-new club at Hardin Valley Middle School.
I love going to Hardin Valley Middle School for lunch on Tuesdays to visit with students. Some students never come to club, but always welcome me with excitement and say, “YOKE GUY!”. There are other students I know really well that have only missed one or two clubs all year!
To be honest, the first semester as a new club was hard — trying to remember kids’ names, talk with them without overstepping, and walking through the school with lots of inquisitive stares. We’ve messed up some games and silly songs along the way, but the students don’t care.
Eric, a YOKE Team Leader at Karns Middle, texted me during our first week: “Just remember, it’s all about making that connection with those kids. The rest is just fluff. The only people that will know if something didn’t go as planned is you and your YOKE Folk. Just have fun.” As the team leader, I want everything we do to work out perfectly. Eric’s words always came to mind when students wouldn’t listen, or when our “dinosaur dance off” was an epic fail. Regardless of any mistakes I could make, I’m so thankful to have a connection with students in my community, and for the chance to have fun with them in a safe environment while showing them God’s love. The team at Hardin Valley Middle is pumped for year two next fall!
I also had the opportunity to be the camp speaker for one of YOKE’s 2019 Spring Camp weekends. Speaking at camp challenged me to think and prepare differently. What do you say to 150 students, when some know Jesus while others have never opened a Bible? You have four 10-15-minute lessons and that’s it. How do you communicate God’s never-ending love for them when some do not know what unconditional love is, or have never even heard the word unconditional?
For me, the answer to many of these questions is, “God’s bigger than you, David, and He is in control.” Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” I exist to follow Jesus and do his kingdom work. Not my kingdom, but his. I’m confident in my God, and I know that He just needs me to show up and give Him my best. He is whispering to those students each day, and he has more than 10-15 minutes to spend with them.
In Matthew 9:37, Jesus tells his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” Students need you in their lives showing them a love that can only come from the Father. Will you help?