See You At The Pole
This morning, thousands of students in countries all over the world gathered at their school flagpoles to pray for their schools, teachers, cities, and each other. It was See You At The Pole (or SYATP). Growing up in Houston, SYATP was always something I looked forward to. It was a chance to take a step back and know that I wasn’t the only one who put my trust in Jesus, that I was a part of something bigger than myself and my own little box. But it was also a reminder of how dark our schools can be and how many students walk through those halls without a shred of hope that their lives mean anything beyond attracting the attention of the “right” crowd or getting into the “right” school.
SYATP was both of those things: an incredible encouragement, and a sober reminder of a reality how desperately thousands of people, thousands of young people, need hope.
This particular morning, I woke up at 5:30 AM (which was tough, I’ll admit) to get ready for yet another SYATP. I made my way to my first SYATP gathering at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock and I was hit with that first reality: that we are not alone in our mission. Aubrey and Faith, two of our youth students, were the first ones at the flagpole this morning. Honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure it wouldn’t be but the three of us there that morning. So I got my little sometimes-we-have-to-stand-up-for-our-faith talk ready, you know, just in case. But then, something amazing happened.
As Aubrey and Faith got ready to pray, students started to gather next to them. A few at first. Then dozens. In the end, Chisholm Trail had seventy to eighty students gathered to pray, worship, and encourage each other. And Aubrey and Faith, all of a sudden, were surrounded by brothers and sisters who were with them in their mission to reach Chisholm Trail with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful. (The girls did amazing, by the way; I guess since they were the first ones there, they just naturally led the group in singing and directing what we prayed for. I couldn’t be prouder as a youth pastor. Oh and props to the CTMS FCA for showing up in a big way sorry we ran out of donuts so fast!)
Eight in the morning meant that the middle school students were heading into class, and I was off to catch our high school students. I made it to McNeil High School, glad to see our students praying together, when I got a text message from a youth shepherd telling me that after arriving at the other high school down the road (Connally), she was surprised to find that there wasn’t a single person there to pray. Not one. Zero. An entire high school, on the national (nay, global) day of student prayer, there wasn’t a single person standing for Connally.
Now before I go any further, let me just say that this doesn’t mean I think that Connally High School is somehow completely lost because no one showed up for SYATP. Nor am I trying to imply that one school is somehow better than another because of a prayer meeting’s attendance. I happen to know that there are Christian students, and solid ones at that, who attend Connally High School. God hasn’t abandoned Connally. But the stark contrast between Chisholm Trail Middle School and Connally High School this morning was a smack-in-the-face reminder to me of that second reality: there are still thousands upon thousands of students in our city who desperately need the Gospel.
And that’s why we’re here. That is the mission of theBranch. That’s the mission of Wells Branch Community Church. That’s the mission of every Christ follower “ to reach our community, our city, and our world with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ.
So please, pray for Connally High School. And pray for McNeil High School. And pray for Chisholm Trail Middle School. Pray for all our schools, and all of our students, that they may know Christ, and that we would see our city ignited with a passion for his name through those students.