Core scripture: “And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation’” (Mark 16: 15).
Message: It was January of 2013. I awoke bright and early before school like normal, pouring a piping hot cup of coffee, munching on a granola bar, and sitting down in my black leather chair to pray. As I spoke to God, emptying myself of all that was bad and filling it with goodness, I quieted myself to listen.
The voice wasn’t audible, but it was clear as day. God nudged me to pray for a young Christian kid in my 7th hour. I didn’t know why. I just knew God put him on my heart to pray for him. So I did. I lifted Tyler up in prayer, finished my quiet time, and headed off to work.
I tossed my bag down, fired up my computer, and prayed again at my desk. Before I could even utter a word to God, there was a knock at my door.
“Come in,” I called out.
The door opened. It was Tyler. Somehow this was not a surprise to me.
“Mr. Daniels, I need to talk with you about something,” he stuttered.
He looked nervous. Hesitant. I could tell whatever was on his heart was weighing on him. He tossed his backpack down and approached my desk.
“Mr. Daniels, I was wondering if you would allow me to start a Bible study with my friends in your room on Monday mornings.”
I could feel the warmth of God’s smile overwhelming the room. Now I knew why that kid was on my heart. God was at work that day! I quickly attempted to alleviate any of his fears.
“Tyler, that is incredible!” I laughed. “How bold of you! Of course you can start a Bible study.”
Relief swept over him as he let out a big breath and chuckled. We immediately set up the basic details. The boys would arrive shortly after 7:00 am, they would do their study, and all would be complete by 7:30 am. He wanted to start that next week. Before he left, I had to come clean about God’s work that morning.
“Hey, you’re not going to believe this, Tyler, but I was praying this morning, and God put it on my heart to pray for you of all people. Now I know why!” I smiled at him.
“It’s amazing how He works, isn’t it?” Tyler responded.
And with that he picked up his backpack and left. A week passed, and about seven boys entered my room that next Monday morning. Tyler led them through a devotion, they prayed for each other, and they were done by 7:30 am. They did the same thing every week, mixing in devotion, prayer time, and of course there was a lot of sheer middle school goofiness. They laughed, they loved, and they grew. And as I watched them, an idea sprung inside me. Definitely a God thing!
On my morning supervision duty in the hallway, I saw Tyler from a distance. Waving him over, I decided to propose my idea.
“Hey, man, I have a proposition for you,” I smiled down at him. “How would you like to expand that little Bible study of yours to a much larger group?”
Tyler smiled sheepishly with question in his eyes. “What do you mean?”
I stared him deadpan in the eye. “Tyler, I want you to be my new student leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes. What do you say?”
He laughed at me. Tyler stood all of 5’5’’ and weighed in at a whopping 95 pounds soaking wet. He had never played a sport in his life. But he was on fire for Christ, he wore his cross necklace daily with pride, and he was unashamed of spreading the gospel. There is no other kid I would have trusted with that job! My eyes pleaded on his behalf for him to say yes.
“I need to pray about that, Mr. Daniels,” Tyler responded. “Let me talk it over with my mom and dad.”
It reminded me of Moses thinking he was too insignificant to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The following Monday morning after Bible study in my room, Tyler lingered behind and approached my desk.
“Mr. Daniels?” he smiled at me. “I’m in. I want to do it!”
With that a seed was planted. He began assembling a leadership team. I sought out a few guest speakers. We made arrangements to use the auditorium every Wednesday morning. Our building principal signed off on the idea. And that following fall of 2013, after a few weeks of promoting our new organization, FCA was born at Indian Trail Middle School.
It would be a crime to attempt to tell the remainder of this story all on one blog. It deserves to be spread into two weeks. Tune in later for part two of Tyler’s story, coming soon to a Christian teacher blog near you!
Challenge: Build relationships with your Christian students. Seek them out. Find them. Make time for them. Encourage them on their paths. Just be there for them as a respected mentor.
Song to bring it home: It is amazing how God works in our lives. He is on the move every day, every hour, every second. If you want a little pep in your step, listen to “God is on the Move” by 7eventh Time Down.
Prayer: Lord, give me Christian morals and principles in my everyday walk with You in the classroom so the Christian kids will have a solid role model to follow. Allow me to build relationships with them off to the side, encouraging them all in their walks with Christ. Amen.
God is on the move in many public schools! I know this Tyler also. He is a bold Christian being God’s light, leading and serving others, Praise the Lord for courageous and selfless young people!!