For The First Time
The Vault. January 20th, 2017.
A night where around 150 middle schoolers invited their friends to climb onto buses and go around Orlando for a night of shenanigans and craziness. The event was cleverly subtitled “A really, really, really late night for middle schoolers” and can I just say that I think they should add student leaders to that list? From 5:30 p.m. until 1 a.m. I, as a ninth grade volunteer, chased kids around and tried to compete with their endless amounts of energy. As soon as I got to the Herndon campus I knew I was in for an awesome, yet exhausting, night. While I was in the midst of signing middle schoolers in, one thing was clear to me just by looking at their faces— they were all way more prepared for the night than I was.
The first stop was a skating rink where we all played games and raced, and then we headed to the Whirly Dome. If you’ve never heard of Whirlyball, go ahead and picture a mixture of bumper cars and basketball with a wiffle ball. Can you see it now? Good. Finally we all high-tailed it back to the Herndon campus where we had some sustenance (Pop-Tarts and Uncrustables, if you’re curious what teenagers eat at midnight), played glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, and hopped around on giant inflatables (which have become a staple source of fun at the Vault in past years. You can trust me, I was there as a middle schooler and I loved them).
After midnight, we had a makeshift Surge. I say makeshift Surge because usually Surge happens a little more in broad daylight and a little less in the middle of the night. A worship set was played by The Vivid Kids and then Cody Stanley, the Herndon Students Minister, gave a talk. The underlying theme of which was the question “What if?” What if my life really matters? What if God really can use me in big ways? What if God really is setting this world right?
Cody’s talk allowed students to start exploring these questions if they had not begun to already. This is the main reason that the Vault exists. It gives middle schoolers the chance to introduce their friends to Surge in a really fun way—by going around Orlando to skating rinks and whirly ball courts. Summit believes these students matter to God and I do too. When you grow up at Summit, you’re going to hear “You matter” a whole lot, which I’m really grateful for, especially for our Surge students. Middle school is tough, but it’s also a great time to start making your faith your own. A lot of kids start going to Surge because it’s the next step after Foothills, a friend brought them, or their parents made them, but I want students to explore the God-question for themselves and to start really believing that they matter. ‘Cause they do.
At the end of the night the band played “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. This is one of my favorite worship songs. In the song there is a lyric that captures what we at Surge want middle schoolers to know about God. He is a good good father and they are, we are, I am loved by him.
As exhausting and crazy as the Vault was, I would do it all over again to watch some of those kids be told that for the first time.
Guest Blogger Jada Hunter is a ninth-grade student at Edge. If you attend the Herndon campus, you’ve probably seen her around serving in some capacity! She is a tremendous example of a student at Summit diving into ministry here.