It’s Thursday morning around 7:00 am and I am driving down 15th street in Tuscaloosa, praying for students and for our Campus Life team at Westlawn Middle School. At 7:15, I arrive at the school and am met with a shower of good mornings from office staff, the principals, teachers, and students. Next, we make our way down the colorful hallways to the library, where we await students, who are looking forward to club and wondering what we are going to be up to today.
Preparations include clearing the space of tables and chairs, setting up a sound system and PowerPoint, talking through club and prayer. By the time this is finished, students begin trickling into the room, and we meet them with smiles, high fives, and fist bumps, asking them how their week has been or if they saw the crazy basketball highlight from the night before.
The next 30ish minutes are organized chaos. We engage students with games that could be anywhere from rock, paper, scissors to something crazy like musical baby food. Food cans are passed around while music plays but, when it stops, whoever has the can has to eat! It’s wild! This is followed by some discussion times, where we talk about everyday life decisions. Finally, we conclude with a short wrap-up from one of our leaders, which usually includes a parable or story from the Bible that relates to the things we have discussed and makes students think about the bigger picture.
This is how I have spent my Thursday mornings for almost three years. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I am grateful that the Lord has allowed me to take part in such an awesome program. We have had such great support in this that I have been able to go into the school and shoot basketball with the boys during PE and sit at lunch with groups of students. I’ve had the opportunity to help lead Junior Achievement for a day and even coach baseball practices. It hasn’t always been this way, though. It has taken time, commitment, and consistency.
When I began Campus Life at Westlawn, I hardly knew anyone there. Students wouldn’t give me much of a chance to try to talk or hang out. It was tough for a while. But since then, I have poured into students, taking time to learn the environment and to form relationships with students and staff. It has paid off more than I would have ever thought, as everyone there has warmed up to me and I feel like I’m in a totally different place than I walked into three years ago. It feels like a second home.
“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” // 1 Corinthians 9:22
Now that I’ve detailed the experience and how I’ve gotten to where I am today, I want to talk a little more about my relationships wi