I am Stephanie Hoopman, and I serve a parent volunteer who assists FCA’s teacher volunteer, Janet Holguin, at the Unionville High school Huddle. Recently I read a Bible passage that caught my attention because the character in the story reminds me of teens today.
In the book of Acts there is story about a young man named Eutychus who is listening to Paul preach late into the night. Like many kids today he’s a bit disengaged sitting in the back of the room in a window. As Paul’s preaching stretches past midnight, Eutychus falls asleep, and he tumbles out of the window to the ground below. The first responders who approach Eutychus pronounce that he is dead...but Paul bends down over him, declaring, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him”. Acts 20:12 wraps up the story by saying, “And they took the youth away alive..and were not a little comforted.”
Eutychus is like our teens in three distinct ways:
From asleep to awake: Like Eutychus our kids are tired; so much is vying for their time. Yet, it is so great to see kids get up early to prioritize huddle. Despite fatigue, kids attend huddle to connect with each other and to learn about Jesus. From the start of huddle, students are awakened with a doughnut and the opportunity to participate in an icebreaker - no one is on the sidelines (or in a window falling asleep!).
From bored to death to engaged. Huddle meetings are short as we only have about 35 minutes together, so there is no time for long sermons. FCA fights boredom by keeping students engaged through student leadership. FCA equips student leaders to lead huddle, and these leaders take turns teaching and engaging their peers. 1 Peter 3:15 says we should always be prepared to give an answer and a reason for the hope that is in us. FCA huddles give students a chance to learn about hope in Jesus, and how they can help other kids connect to that hope, too. Student athletes are strong influencers in their schools; FCA is an avenue for them to deploy leadership skills to influence their peers toward a relationship with Christ.
From death to life: Like Eutychus, God is still bringing dead things to life. Faith can appear dead in our youth as they grapple with this complex world that pulls them in so many directions. Yet, Jesus declares in John 10:10 that he came into the world that we might have life, and have it abundantly. FCA meetings allow students to explore Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. Also, FCA helps students build connections with other kids who want to know more about Jesus, so that they do not feel alone in this life’s journey.
Along with Mrs. Holguin, I get the amazing opportunity each Huddle to witness our youth walking away with more life in them. One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:4, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” Like Paul, I want to tell parents to not be alarmed..Paul saw life in Eutychus, and I see life growing through seeds of transforming truth planted into our kids through FCA. God promises to complete the good work He is starting in your kids. Like the end of Eutychus story in Acts, I am ‘not a little’ but enormously comforted witnessing these kids come alive as they grow in their faith and understanding of Jesus’s great love for them.