By Jay Barbier
Youth specialist, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
Excitement, enthusiasm, exhaustion — that’s what I would experience on the fourth Wednesday morning every September.
I would start typically around 3 a.m. The routine would be get up, get ready, and GO! It’s okay, coffee and sugar were waiting on me.
This was my life in the trenches of youth pastoring every year. Usually I would bring my son and pick up some students from within my youth group. I would journey over to one of the local donut shops and stock-pile donuts — I’m talking about HUNDREDS of them.
I would then venture to many local middle schools and high schools to pray and feed students this sugary goodness. I would try to line up students to take on the leadership of their campus to pray and gather. Some may ask “why?” The answer, to me, was clear: Because any opportunity to be with students, pray, watch them own their faith and lead — this is discipleship.
This month — on Sept. 23 — will be a day that students will have an opportunity to gather around their school, church or community’s flagpole. “See You at the Pole” was and will continue to be a huge ministry opportunity for youth ministry.
“See You at the Pole” — the global day of student prayer — began in 1990 as a grassroots movement with 10 students praying at their school. Thirty years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September. “See You at the Pole” is simply a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. It is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event.”
Is this an opportunity for you to get involved with students? Think about it: This day is globally promoted, talked about and youth can PRAY. This will give students exposure to seeing other believers gather around and lift high the name of Jesus. Check in with your local schools and see if you can help lead in this. Line up leaders within your group to own each campus in your community. And, if you want to leave a smile on some students faces, bring donuts!
Early on in my ministry, I started using “See You at the Pole” as a rally point to gather with area-wide churches for a “See You at the Pole” rally. In fact, when I moved to Tennessee in 2011, I started calling this gathering “The Rally.” We would intentionally plan an evangelistic outreach that night. We tried partnering with schools to do character assemblies. There are so many possibilities with this.
Students would invite as many youth from the community as they could to gather that night. We would see hundreds of students gather each year and the Lord always blew my expectations out of the water. I saw hundreds of students saved and set on the road to discipleship because of a gathering around a flagpole to pray and then inviting friends to come to the rally! I honestly believe we saw success because first, we prayed, and second, students owned the event and did the work of ministry.
Are you convinced yet? I recommend doing this event if there is any way you can pull this off! Talk with school officials and follow CDC and government regulations. Set the date — 9.23.20. Enlist leaders and students, bring donuts and you will gain an amazing group of followers.
Promote, promote and try to promote some more. Prepare and pray for the Lord to do a huge work. Preach Jesus and offer an opportunity for students to respond to the gospel at your rally. Check out www.syatp.com for ideas and information. B&R Contact Jay Barbier at email@example.com if you need help with planning.