After Logan Perkins went to Christian youth camp last summer, he knew he wanted to bring the message home with him. He just wasn’t sure how.
The Skyline High School senior soon came up with a plan, and started the Faith Club at his school. The group started with just four students, but it was a start.
Today, there are about 10 students who regularly attend the Faith Club meetings after school on Mondays, and their mission is clear, according to the Skyline website: “To teach people about the Bible and share about faith.”
“It’s great to get together and discuss things, to learn about the Bible, to talk to other people who have the same issues that you do,” said Perkins, 17. “We started with only four kids, but we welcome anyone who wants to join. We’ve more than doubled in size in a short time, and we would love to have more kids come.”
At a time when living a Christian life is a huge challenge – especially for teenagers – Faith Club members say they relish the strength they draw from their faith.
“I feel empowered by my faith, and the club helps strengthen my faith,” said Jordyn Newing, a 17-year-old junior and one of the group’s original four members. “When I’m struggling, when things aren’t going great, my faith tells me that God still has a plan for me.
“People without faith don’t have that belief. It’s more of a ‘I need to see it to believe it’ attitude. They don’t believe there is an ultimate creator with a plan. I do, and it gives me strength.”
The club puts up posters about its Monday meetings, asking all who are interested to come. Still, there are students who question the club’s open-arms policy.
“People wrote on our posters that we don’t accept people in the LGBT community,” Perkins said. “But that just isn’t true. There are no barriers, all you have to do is have a desire to learn and talk about your Christian faith.”
Perkins said there are “mixed responses” when he tells people about the club.
“Sometimes, kids don’t know how to react,” he said. “Other times, they just say, ‘that’s cool.’ If someone isn’t interested, I’d don’t push anything on them.”
Newing, who also belongs to the Black Student Union, says she picks and chooses her opportunities about spreading the message of the club.
“If someone asks me to hang out on a Monday, I just tell them I‘m going to Faith Club,” she said. “Sometimes that leads to a discussion, sometimes they have questions about the club. But I’ve never had any problems with anyone, no one’s ever put me down because I belong to the club.”
Some of that conversation about which Newing speaks centers on a student doing poorly on a test, or maybe a break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Her faith tells her that there is a plan, that no matter what the struggles. There is a plan.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t talk about my faith as much as I should because I don’t want to come across as a ‘stereotypical Christian’ who push their beliefs on everyone,” she said. “I think that does more harm than good.
“But sometimes there are opportunities to have a conversation about God and faith. You just have to know the right times.”
One of those times to subtly testify came earlier this school year when the Faith Club doled out more than 400 cups of hot chocolate to fellow students on a cold, winter morning before Christmas.
“It was too hectic to talk much, handing out all the hot chocolate,” said Perkins. “It was pretty crazy. But we had a message on the cups, telling everyone who got a cup of hot chocolate that we believe Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It wasn’t pushy, but it was effective, I think.”
Each Monday, when the group meets in Spanish teacher Diane Sastre’s classroom, they sometimes discuss the opportunities to spread the word. But most of the conversation centers on the Bible and how it relates to today’s world.
Every week, Perkins talks about the Bible, and how it speaks to relationships, perseverance and struggles.
Both Perkins and Newing have their own favorite Bible stories, and each has their reason why.
“I like the story of Sampson, how he became so involved with the world that he put God in the background, cut his hair and lost his strength,” said Newing. “And, then we he turned back to God, he was given back his strength.
“I really relate to that story, because there have been times in my life when I wasn’t focusing on God, and I didn’t feel as strong as I do now.”
Perkins also points to a well-known Old Testament story, saying that the story of Jonah is among his favorites.
“God asked Jonah to spread the Word, and instead Jonah got scared and got swallowed by a great fish when he went in the opposite direction,” Perkins said. “It shows us that it can be hard to be called upon.
“At first, I was nervous about the Faith Club, but I knew it was what God wanted me to do.”