Despite government limitations on prayer and Bible reading in public schools, the Gospel is still found on campus today through student led clubs supported by First Priority. By connecting the church with students to reach the campus for Christ, First Priority supported more than 5,000 students in 165 schools throughout Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast last year. At these Great Commission Clubs, which meet weekly, students are equipped to share the love of Jesus Christ with their peers who do not know Him. The results are stunning. A reported 3,496 students made professions of faith through these clubs last year alone. And the stories are endless as students discover that the Gospel changes everything.
Bryan, a student who joined First Priority in Spring 2015, shared in a video on the First Priority website about how an invitation from a friend eventually led to him leave drugs behind and begin a new life in Christ with renewed energy, new friendships and an improved relationship with his parents.
Robin, a local student, joined First Priority as a freshman. She said that when the club began to dwindle, she took it upon herself “to create a fire to get people involved and help people at my school.” Early on, she said, “First Priority relieved me of stress and was there to guide me to where I needed to be. Now I’ve become the person who guides those who need help.”
Initiated by students, each club is supported by a campus coach, often a youth pastor or someone approved by a church to mentor youth. “We are guests of the student driven club,” said Stefan Bomberger, director of solutions at First Priority and a pastor at Riverside Church. “The students are the players who reach the campus for Christ.”
However, First Priority has a lot of resources available to help. And this year many of those resources are available online. Students can visit firstpriority.cc to access the campus club finder or simply text FPClub to 313131 to be added to the student list. If you do not see your school on the list, then check out “Start a Club,” which guides students through a 10-step process to begin a club.
Back to School Mission
First Priority launched it’s Back to School Mission during the first week of classes in August. This initiative prepares students, parents, school faculty and volunteers for a coordinated re-launch of First Priority clubs. “Moving many of the resources to web-based videos, we’re hoping this will help clubs to hit the ground running,” said Bomberger. Their strategy includes the following.
Coach to Win training events were held in August when campus coaches, students leaders and faculty advisors get all the information they need to succeed on campus. “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NLT).
On the First Friday of school, First Priority clubs gathered their core leaders and any interested new students for prayer and planning for the year.
First Priority University is then held over the next three weeks when students engage in an all new 12-video tutorial series on First Priority. These 15 minutes videos are paired with thoughtful small group discussions that help master how to run a successful club.
Students then Launch TEAM, an acronym for Tell, Equip, Ask and Mission. During Tell Week students tell “God Stories” about what God is doing in their lives and on campus. On Equip Week students are equipped to share their faith using monthly training resources. Ask Week is spent in prayer asking God to move powerfully on campus and in people’s lives. Finally, Mission Week is when they share the Gospel, inviting new students to come to Christ. This is usually done through a special event featuring a guest speaker and free pizza or donuts.
See You at the Pole
On the third Wednesday of September, First Priority joins students all across the country for See You at the Pole (SYATP). For the past 25 years, students nationwide have gathered at their school’s flag pole at 7 a.m. for the simple act of prayer. SYATP is about students uniting themselves in prayer before God interceding for their generation. This is a great way for students to pray for their campus and also find other like-minded students. A very public event, SYATP is a great opportunity to reach those who may be curious, said Bomberger.
Every year First Priority reaches thousands of students with the gospel and they are always seeking partners. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel…” (Philippians 1:3-5). Those who supported him financially were more than donors; they were partners in the gospel. If you are interested in becoming a partner with First Priority, visit firstpriority.cc