Wednesday
Dec302009

Great Story, Rewarding Moment

Over the last almost nine years there have been many moments, or testimonies, that have stood out as the kind you want to “share with the world”.  There have been many gut-check moments too. 

One thing that is a goal in this ministry is that Kids for Christ meetings be a true place of connecting with God, or simply stated, a place that kids feel comfortable making a decision to serve Jesus with their lives.  Next, is that they develop a true relationship with God for themselves. 

To that end, as they grow through elementary school and into Jr. High, we begin training them to run the club themselves.  This is because “spiritually” we hope they are growing into a relationship with God and seeing Him as a truly loving father; and “legally” because they will need to run the clubs when they reach High School.

In an effort to accomplish this, just a few weeks ago I asked some of the leaders of one of the High School clubs to go to the Jr. High in their own school district and lead the meeting.  They led worship, and did the message, and the Jr. High kids were captivated.

The girl who spoke to the 7th graders shared her personal testimony, explaining that she didn’t come from a family that went to church.  The very first day of KFC in 2001, she gave her life to Jesus as a 2nd grader.  “Kids for Christ was my church…”  She told how she went through a hard period in Jr. High when her sister was diagnosed with bone cancer.  She dropped out of KFC for awhile.  Her family found great support in a local church that raised thousands to see that her sister got the care she needed. This touched her sisters and Mother deeply and they gave their lives to Christ, too.  Finally my young friend called me and asked me if there was a club in the High School.  She explained that she wanted to start it, so she and a young man started the club. 

She is a junior, and that young man is a senior.  There are six other leaders that work with them to run the club.  She encouraged the 7th graders to stay plugged in to FUSE (the name of the club from Jr. High thru High School).  She did great.

When she finished, she left to get to school early.  She and the other two students collaborated to write a message right there on the spot before the 6th grade students came in. The young man (the aforementioned senior) delivered a story that I read years ago as a “forwarded” email. 

The story goes, “One night the biggest geek in the school was headed home with all his books in his arms.  He tripped and dropped his books all over the hallway.  Other students were laughing and making fun of him, when suddenly one of the most popular guys in the school came and began helping him pick up his books.  When he finished, the “geek” asked the popular kid, “Why did you do that?”  The popular kid said, “Why wouldn’t I, you needed help.” 

A few years later the “geek” was the class valedictorian of their class.  As a part of his speech he told how one day a few years ago he had emptied his locker because his plan was to go home and commit suicide.  When the “popular kid” helped him pick up his books, it gave him the hope to go on.  Great story.

Then the young man proceeded to tie this story and the story of Jeremiah the prophet together.  He told the kids how they needed to choose to take a stand for God at school.  He told them he knows it’s hard when everybody around you is dropping “F bombs” and smoking this and drinking that.  He encouraged them that they need to “be” Jesus for their friends. 

While he was talking I felt impressed to do an altar call with those kids.  As the young man finished, the students were hanging on every word he spoke.  I realized that the story he told paralleled the salvation message, so I tied to his message.  At the moment of truth seven of the twenty-seven 6th graders attending confidently raised their hands to receive Jesus as their Savior.  I have given hundreds of altar calls to kids through the year, but what made this one special is that 6th graders are not like elementary school kids; when they raise their hands, they know exactly why and what they are raising their hand to.  Between that and the fact that the young man speaking was my oldest son, it was one of the most special moments in KFCUSA history…at least for me.

The fact is, there are special moments in Kids for Christ everyday.  For me this one just said to me “This ministry is working, it’s really working.”  I witnessed kids who had been involved in KFCUSA since the beginning who have made their relationship with Christ their own, sharing the love of God with other kids who are coming up in the program, and it was an absolutely rewarding feeling.  All I can say is that I hope that if God is prompting you to get involved in this ministry in some way, that you will not resist Him.  Together we’re reaching a new generation of Kids for Christ.

Wednesday
Dec302009

Tips for Publicizing Your Club

Once you’ve received permission for your Bible Club to start meeting, the next issue is getting students to come.  As it says in my book, legally you are entitled to use the same means as any other club on the campus.  If they allow the scouts to make a PA announcement, so can you.  Should they allow the 4H to put an announcement in the school paper, so can you.  My personal preference, however, is flyers. 

The first and sixth amendments allow students to distribute literature to their fellow students.  They can share their faith (in their free time---WHATEVER that faith may be); and they can even hand out tracts.  I advise students and parents that the students can distribute the flyer outside the school doors after school as kids are leaving.  I also advise them NEVER to force someone to take one of the flyers.  I tell parents to just sit with the box of flyers. 

The biggest points are that the flyers are not forced on other students and that when you leave, you make sure that any flyers that children drop get picked up and placed in the trash.  The next big point is when the principal tells you how she/he will allow you to advertise, you are to be respectful and optimistic.

Here is the reality: whatever means you are allowed to use, God will bless.  Once you’ve begun, I believe God will give you creative ideas that you can use from within the club to get the word out.

I have used many resources through the years.  Grade contests: which give prizes to all the students in the grade that brings the most kids; Boys vs Girls; or a prize for the one who brings the most new friends.  (Although this is not one I advise, because it’s often too difficult to track who really is a new guest.)

In my view there is nothing with bigger potential than for the leaders to be willing to make a fool of themselves if the group reaches a certain number of kids.  For example, “If you guys get 100 kids here next week, you can put a pie in my face.”  I know kids’ Pastors that have eaten live goldfish, or live crickets. (I didn’t say I recommend it, I just said I “know guys who’ve done it”.)  My favorite personal stunt is eating a raw egg… something I learned from the first Rocky movie back in the 70’s.

We had a club here in Tulsa that just wouldn’t grow.  It is a Jr. High and just like any school, some years you have a bunch of kids and some years you don’t.  There are “up” years and “down” years, and that is just the way it is.  Although numbers don’t mean a whole lot, the more kids you have coming, the more kids you may reach.

ANYWAY, this particular group has been small all year.  We’ve done several things to increase the crowd, but to no avail.  Just a few weeks ago the young man who oversees the group told the kids that he, an Oklahoma State University grad, would wear an OU (University of Oklahoma) jersey if OU beat OSU in the big rivalry game.  He did the same thing at his church.  However, when he came to the school he forgot about his promise.  Before the club started He was telling the 12 or so 7th graders in the room about how many people came to youth at his church the night before to see him in an OU jersey.  As he talked I was in the back of the room standing next to our student sponsor.  I couldn’t help myself, I interrupted him and said, “Do you really think a group of 7th graders are going to get up and come to school half an hour early to see you in an OU jersey?  That is just lame!  If you really want to draw a crowd, tell them that you will eat one raw egg the week after they reach 100 kids”. My student sponsor asked him if he would do it, and the overseer said “Yeah, I’ll do it”. I felt like he’d be safe because the most kids that group has ever had was 88 and that was three years ago. 

With that as ammo my student sponsor did a variation of what he does every week, he goes to the gym where the students go when they get off the bus and tells everybody in there that FUSE is starting.  Normally, a few kids come back with him.  This day however, he was on a mission.  He walked in that gym and yelled “FUSE is starting and the guy who oversees it for us said that if we get 100 students there, then next week he will eat a raw egg! OH! …and there are free donuts!!” Next thing I know I heard some kids coming and looked up at the door to see the craziest sight.  Kids just kept pouring in!  All totaled, 145 kids packed in that room.

The next week 88 came back to watch Rusty eat a raw egg and the week after that, 104 kids came.  I’m guessing that we should retain 60-80 of them for the rest of the year.  My point is: God, the creator of the universe, lives in you, and He will give you creative ideas to grow your club.  Do you understand?  Creativity is in you!  He said, “Ask and you’ll receive.”, so ASK.  There are a lot of kids to reach with the love of Jesus, so “Ask”!