San Antonio, Texas
At 9 p.m. a handful of students gathers at the front of a church fellowship room. Guitars are brought out. A bass. A djembe drum. A little egg shaker. The opening chords for "Shine, Jesus, Shine" jangle as a student fixes a transparency to an overhead projector. As the music team finds its groove, the almost 100 teens crowded into every corner of the room break into worship.
This is Alamo Heights High School's Campus Life club in San Antonio, Texas. It's Thursday evening, and members have just heard their adult leader, Perry, challenge them to put God first. Before money. Possessions. Presti gious positions. Now they're committing themselves to God, praising him openly with their voices, any way they want. Some stand, others kneel, a few lift their hands. Prayers are offered. Tonight, "Inner Cell" (named for Paul and Silas' impromptu prison worship in Acts 16) lasts for over an hour—sometimes it goes two.
The concept behind Inner Cell began on a club skiing trip over spring break. During the trip, students got to- g ether one evening to sing some of their favorite praise songs. They felt God move in a special way. So when the group returned home to San Antonio, they decided to worship through singing more often. Now the club has Inner Cell every week, and most members say it's the highlight of the meeting. Says Matthew Pipkin, who plays guitar, "It's worth the time commitment to lead worship every week. It's an incredible feeling to be an instrument of God."
For more information on Campus Life clubs, check out www.youthforchrist.org.
Jennifer: What I love about Campus Life is that everyone has a role. At church, I've always felt like I was just watching. But I feel free to invite my friend who doesn't believe in God to club, and she's open to it. It's not just Perry (the club's leader) who makes her feel welcome, but everyone.
Hunter: We all play football, and a lot of the key people on our team are also Campus Life members, which is really cool.
Paige: We've all been through a lot together. It's cool that I can call either Anne Marie or Catherine and be like, "I have to tell you a story." And they'll listen.
Mandy: My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor in April 1997. He died while I was at my aunt's for spring break, a year later. My mom and dad were divorced, and since he had custody, I took care of him—getting his medications, helping him through seizures, everything. Through that experience, I learned that even when I thought God didn't care, he was with me.
Jennifer: We're all on dance team together. We perform at the football games at halftime and at basketball games. This year we tried to invite all the dance team members to Campus Life. And almost all of them have come!
Lonnie: There are three places I have to see in my life—Scotland, Israel and Australia. But I'm dying to go to Israel. When you know the Jewish traditions and cultures, it adds so much to the Bible.
Matt: I'm one of the only tennis players at Campus Life. So I'm friends with all the football players, and they give me a hard time. I can hold my own, though.