The Impossible Dream?

Reach your entire campus with the gospel? Sound impossible? That's just what Chris Folley thought, then God went to work.
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CHRIS FOLLEY HAD A DREAM. He wanted to share the gospel with every student at Dunwoody High before he graduated that next spring. Since I was his youth pastor, he came to me for advice. He wanted to know how he could make his dream a reality. • Chris wasn't what you'd call a popular guy. He wasn't the president of anything. He wasn't on any teams. He didn't date a cheerleader. He wasn't an honor student. He didn't even dress like everybody else. • Chris was a skater. • Now in certain schools around our home town of Atlanta, being a skater would be considered very cool. But not at Dunwoody. At Dunwoody High, skaters got no respect. Bottom line, Chris wasn't going to be asked to speak to the student body in this lifetime. He had no real influence in his school. All he had was a dream.

But Chris wasn't discouraged. He felt this was something God wanted him to do. He felt it was his responsibility to make sure everybody in his school had at least one opportunity to hear a clear gospel presentation before he graduated.

So together we explored every option imaginable. We thought about writing everybody a letter. We discussed doing a phone blitz. I suggested dropping notes in everybody's locker. But none of these ideas seemed right. Chris was starting to feel like there was no way he could make his dream come true. Even so, that didn't keep Chris from sharing his faith with as many students as possible.

One of those students was Mark Hannah.

Unlikely Friendship

When his parents split up, Mark remained in Miami with his mom. Sometime after the divorce Mark's dad moved to Atlanta. When Mark hit his teen years, he got into alcohol and drugs. He was flunking out of school. By the end of his tenth-grade year, his mom had had enough. She packed him up and sent him to Atlanta to live with his dad.

Mark didn't want to leave his friends in Miami. He didn't really want to live with his dad. As far as he was concerned, life couldn't get worse. Just imagine his first day at Dunwoody High School! He came with an attitude. This was not a kid you walked up to and greeted in the halls. Nobody attempted to be Mark's friend. Nobody except Chris.

You see, Chris wasn't put off by Mark. He saw Mark for what he was: an angry, hurt guy in need of a friend and a Savior. So during those first few days of school, Chris went right up to Mark, introduced himself, and showed him around. As it turned out, they both liked some of the same music. In fact, Mark was a drummer and Chris played bass. That weekend, Chris invited Mark to spend the night with him at his parents' house.

As the year went on, Chris figured his dream wouldn't happen. There was no way he was going to be able to share the gospel with the entire student body. The best he could do was talk one-on-one with as many students as possible before the year ended.

That was it. End of dream.

But God had not given up on Chris' dream. He was still quietly at work behind the scenes.

Late one evening, Mark opened up with Chris. He told him about his life in Miami. He shared honestly about how much he'd hated coming to Atlanta. He admitted he was pretty much mad at the world.

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