Change the World
Campus Life talked to students in Wheaton, Illinois; Columbus, Georgia; and Upland, Indiana, about how they're reaching out to their communities and slowly changing the world. Read on, and as Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."
Jammin' for Jesus
The streets of this sleepy Chicago suburb were quiet on a Sunday afternoon late last summer. You would have never known a spiritual awakening was about to happen. But it was.
The green grass of a local baseball diamond was swarming with students. They'd seen the signs and talked to fellow classmates, so they came to check out Power Jam.
Two Wheaton North High School seniors, Steve Erikson and Todd Pickney, had a vision to plan an event that would reach out to students in their community. Power Jam, a fun-filled evening of food, music and testimonies, was the result of their vision.
"We wanted to help our friends see that Christ is real," Steve said. "Since it was a student-led event, we thought our friends would be able to relate better to the message."
Todd and Steve, along with a core group of about 40 volunteers, spent their evenings the week before Power Jam "prayer walking."
"We spent each night that week praying at the field," Steve explained. "We wanted Christ's angels protecting it."
About 700 area students showed up for Power Jam, where they doused their friends in the dunk tank, sudsed up on the slip-n-slide, all the while stuffing their faces with pizza, sno cones and cotton candy. Onstage, a local band played some tunes, and some teens talked about how God had changed their lives. Beforehand, the community gave donations and volunteers promoted the event through local youth groups, mass e-mails and posters— not to mention turning their cars into mobile advertisements by painting them with white shoe polish.
Todd and Steve don't know how many students walked away from the event as changed people, but they know Power Jam planted some seeds.
"One guy accepted Christ driving home that night and another one of our friends was really touched by the testimonies," Todd said. "But we're probably never going to fully know the impact Power Jam had."
But that's not stopping them from planning another event this summer.
"It's amazing to see what God can do through us when we are obedient," says Todd. "Anything is possible through him."
Steve was also blown away.
"You just have to trust in him," he said. "And have a Power Jam. It's a lot of fun!"
If you're interested in planning an event like Power Jam, Todd and Steve can be reached at email@example.com.
Locks of Love
Hey, you have long hair. Can I have it?" With that one question, a movement began at Taylor University—a movement that included women, men and hair, a movement that founder Minde Young wants to continue for years to come.
"We serve a God of forever, not a God of trends," she said. "When I'm 72 and come back for my 50-year reunion, I hope the girls are still giving their hair."
Project Hair began when Minde promised to grow her hair and give it to Locks of Love, a not-for-profit organization that makes wigs for children with alopecia, a condition causing long-term hair loss. She soon caught the attention of more than 100 students, alumni and area residents who became the core supporters of the hair-giving mission.