this wednesday morning is “see you at the pole“, the day when teenagers across america (really, across the world, now) meet at their flagpole 30 minutes before school to pray for their school. when this is done right, it can be a really powerful thing in the lives of teenagers, nudging their perspective toward loving and praying for their school, not with a war-metaphor “let’s take this campus like the beaches of normandy” attitude, but with an attitude of servanthood and love.
anyhow, i can’t think of SYATP without thinking of taylor.
taylor was a 7th grader in my junior high group, about 13 or 14 years ago. we’d encouraged the kids to go to SYATP, but, since we had students from about 60 different middle schools, we didn’t organize any particular site. we just told them to show up 30 minutes before school, and there would likely be other students from other churches to join with them. taylor was the only kid in our ministry from his school — ensign middle school, in newport beach, california. but he showed up to school 30 minutes early that day.
and he was the only one there.
he stood by the flagpole for a while, expecting others to join him. but none did. and, in a act of childlike wonder, innocence, and courage, taylor thought to himself, “well, marko said we would hold hands around the flagpole and pray for our school.” so, he put his hands around the flagpole and held his own hand. he stood praying for his school for a dozen minutes or so, while busses pulled with in kids wondering what taylor was doing to the flagpole.
this is one of my all-time favorite true youth ministry stories (i have better ones that aren’t as true!).