“We” and “Them” at “See You at the Pole”

Yesterday morning was an event called “See You at the Pole” (SYATP). Thousands of Christian kids around the country gathered around the flagpoles at their schools to pray… or… to take a stand… it really depends on the group.

Sorry, I just can’t get behind it.

I didn’t even mention the event in our EZINE or in my blogging the past few weeks. I’ve received emails asking me about the event and asking me to publicize it. I haven’t.

Why? Am I a SYATP hater?

I’ve never really verbalized my feelings about the event. My mom taught me… if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. So for the last couple years I just kept silent. But people are beginning to ask questions. I even was forwarded this blog –SYATP is Stupid! – written from a guy who really doesn’t like the event.

Is this guy a hater?

I hate to admit it… (and I wouldn’t probably title my article like this guy’s), but I can’t disagree with this guy.

Here’s what I have noticed year after year at SYATP. Adults tell Christian kids to go stand at the flagpole and pray for their school. “It’s their right!” The event is “adult driven.”

Now fast forward to the actual Wednesday morning where a kid is standing next to the pole… struggling with one overwhelming thought. “What is everyone thinking of me right now?” Is that what we’re trying to accomplish?

A practice that is supposed to be our communication with God has just turned into a giant struggle with pride. Temptation while standing at the pole is, “Look at me!” not, “Look at God!”

The question I have is simple. Where is the Biblical basis for this event? Because if we look at what the Bible says about prayer, I only find passages talking about how we should NOT pray to be seen by others. Jesus himself said that we should go and close the door to pray.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that anyone who has done SYATP has bad motives. A ton of us have tried SYATP with good motives. I’ve tried it for years. I’ve made videos, spoken at rallies, and encouraged my kids to attend. I think my motives were good. I think many of my kids motives were good. But after observing it for years, I’ve taken a step back and tried to take an honest look at the results. I encourage you to do the same. What did this event accomplish? Did it help my kids learn to pray? Was it helping them be an effective witness for Him? More importantly… ask yourself a bigger question. Why are we encouraging our kids to go do this public display of prayer when the Bible not only doesn’t support it, it seems to speak against it?

What the heck is SYATP? It’s more like SOKUF. Set Our Kids Up for Failure.

A couple years ago my friend KJ went to a local campus to watch it all go down. A handful of Christian students gathered around the flagpole staring at the ground. One of the kid’s friends came up and looked at the ground to see what his friend was staring at. Finally, confused he spoke up. “What are you doing man?”

The Christian kid looked up and said, “Are you a Christian?”

The friend said, “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

The Christian said, “Then get out of here!”

I’ve written articles about SYATP before, trying to not stop the moving train, but maybe guide it to safer tracks. But I’m tired of trying to put icing on the turd. I’m just not pumping it anymore. SYATP breeds a mentality of “us” vs. “them.” It’s not in the literature, but it reeks of, We Christians need to stand up for what we believe… amongst these dirty pagans! Nice. That attitude will bring a ton of people to Christ! (sarcasm intended).

Sorry guys, but I just don’t think Jesus was in the Bible Club at his high school. I think he was in metal shop.

Jesus went away to pray a ton… I just don’t remember it being in front of everyone.

Am I wrong?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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26 Responses to “We” and “Them” at “See You at the Pole”

  1. Todd says:

    I hate to admit it, but you are right.

    Not only is this a public display of prayer (which you already addressed) but I want to ask, has it outlived its effectiveness? Or better yet, was it every really effective??

    You tell me.

  2. Trevor says:

    I sure can’t call you wrong J. I can, however, say that I have seen it done well. I have been at a “Pole” rally at a Christian school so no one was “putting on ashes and sackcloth” so others could see them. They simply wanted to pray for their school, teachers and community for the year.

    I have also been to pole rallies that were done early…long before students show up. Simply, again, just to pray for the school, students, teachers, friends and community for the coming year. Do this then head to breakfast together. Did we have to go stand around a flag pole? Of course not and when the weather was bad we didn’t. But there is also something to be said about actually praying over the site where so much of our students time is spent.

    Now does this mean that all Pole rallies are not a “look at me look at me” event? Again of course not. But what it does mean is that the old “baby with the bath water” principle might need to be remembered. I am not entirely sure that I am even totally against the idea of having some of our Christian kids finally face the question of whether or not they are living their faith at school or if their friends would say “what are you doing?” if they saw then with their heads bowed praying to God.

    Anyway all that to say that I can understand where you are coming from and the rebellious side of this youth pastor type would often agree with you. Yet this time there is just something there which makes we ask myself why I don’t. When I don’t “buck the system” out of habit I need to stop and investigate why in my own life. I guess I haven’t come to the exact answer yet but I see where you’re coming from and am just not quite sure I’m with you this time.

    Keep up the great work though…loving “12 Resources”…just picked it up this week.

  3. Adam says:

    I don’t hate to admit it, I have to agree. In high school, we used to go behind the school, away from people. Not out of fear, but because we didn’t want to make a showcase of stuff. I had a hard time though with most of the pole stuff I saw. Maybe if we prayed earlier (like the dude above me said), then used that time to serve others, and show the spirit of Christ. Probably would change our schools and country quicker.

  4. Does It Really Matter? says:

    Well from all the times I have gone all I can really say is that it breeds this here we are hear us roar!, image. The sad thing is most of these christians standing around the poles are really much of christians at all. What Im saying is as a youth pastor im all for letting people know what you believe and praying for campus and all but in the end i feel the most effective way a campus can be reached is through a underground movment, one on one relational ministry. I mean why do we even get around a flag pole. My students dread it, most pastors will tell their students take a stand for campus! I wonder if a stand needs to be taken or maybe more of a kneeling posture? One of servanthood and love. If you want to pray great just dont allow it to be a stumbling block to those who have not put their faith in Christ yet. I remember as a student if I was to join the christian club on campus meant that I would have to get around a pole to be assaulted and seem like im better than all those SINNERS once a year and that terrified me. Some may say Oh Well, Carry Your Cross and to that I will say, why yours seems big enough for the both of us. Anyway I feel that if we need a holiday to pray like this SYATP then like my wife says if you need a certain day to bring me flowers and do nice things for me than dont. You should be doing them all the time. Like Valintines day I feel all we really do is teach our students this type of fake, not very genuine prayer life. I guess im a little harsh but im just tired of old wineskins.

  5. jon says:

    something about SYATP had always bothered me. i had never sat down to figure it out, but i always thought it was that i didn’t like the actions of the people who really pushed it locally, the really “showy” “fluff” people. my whole ministry centers on the opposite, being REAL. ya’ll are just nailing it. thanks so much.

  6. I think that there’s something to be said for the once a year opportunity for Christian kids to realize that they’re not alone at their schools. I think you can go “wow, I’m not the only ‘us'” – without making it “us vs them”. Your example is awful… yeah ok, Christian kids can be jerks sometimes, but that’s a slippery slope when it comes to making activities illegitimate. I can’s say that every SYATP is good… BUT i’d quickly question your arguments.

    1) Is doing something adults think is wise automatically wrong? (ok, read Proverbs, I think that’s a hard position to maintain… adult-driven activities aren’t aways wrong)

    2) Would Jesus be at Bible Club? – I don’t think you can biblically argue that he would avoid it. Jesus was quick to criticize the religious BUT he didn’t avoid them. Most of his interaction was with religious people. If you count his disciples, or Mary and Martha… he spend most of his time with Christ-followers.

    3) Is public displays of worship wrong? – maybe given Matt 6 and talking about MOTIVE for worshipful acts (giving/praying/fasting). Jesus was certainly public. His disciples beliefs weren’t personal and private. The Prophets did an awful lot of public stuff… Daniel did stuff like pray in places the public could see him… I don’t think you can really argue that those things are wrong.

    I’m not a huge fan of SYATP, BUT I’m not convinced by your arguments against it.

  7. Wow… Samual… you got a little distracted there. I don’t know where you got the idea that I was saying “what adults think is wise is wrong.” I really don’t even know how to respond to that other than… wow. What were you reading?

    My point of this blog is simple. SYATP is a prayer event. The Bible is pretty clear about prayer. SYATP doesn’t follow that model. By putting our kids in a position of “public prayer”… it’s tempting them to do it with wrong motives.

    Motives are key here. Yes, we can’t judge each person’s motives. And I’ve seen plenty of kids wanting to do this event with good motives. I just think that it USUALLY sets them up for failure. It breeds “we” vs. “them” … and it put them in a position of “look at me.”

    Clear enough?

  8. well, i was reading:

    “Adults tell Christian kids to go stand at the flagpole and pray for their school. “It’s their right!” The event is “adult driven.”

    And took that as a criticism. I mean, i don’t want to say SYATP is bad because it’s “adult driven” because plenty of stuff that teens do is adult driven… like getting out of bed in the morning lol

  9. -d- says:

    You could pick apart and find something wrong with just about any Christian program (including mine). 🙂 I think there’s good and bad to SYATP and it’s important to teach kids to do what’s right for the right reasons. SYATP was started for the right reasons. That some people have made it look bad doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a purpose in some kids’ lives. I think a lot hinges on how youth leaders talk about it and how they’ve discipled their kids. Beyond that, it’s beyond their control.

  10. Gene says:

    Maybe it would be helpful to provide more ideas for alternatives…

    I saw the one guy suggest meeting early, but still on site to avoid the ‘look at me’ mentality, or meeting off campus but to pray specifically for the school… ? Any other suggestions?

    One thing that hasn’t been talked about is the scope of the event. While I see this event as having been hijacked by people who are using it to make money on parafanalia…
    It seems like it initially started as a similar event or in the style of the National Day of Prayer… specifically gathering on one day, praying specifically for our nation….knowing that there would be millions of others gathering at the same time doing the same thing… Kind of cool I think.

  11. Brent Johns says:

    Very interesting post and comments. Johnathan is the first guy I have heard to question SYATP! Refreshing to hear his comments and I lean toward agreeing. To be honest, I have pushed SYATP among our youth because I am pretty sure I would be looked down upon by other youth ministers as not doing what I should do. I would also ask why does it seem that the things we often think will attract others to Christ seem to do just the opposite?

  12. Jason says:

    Hey Jon, thanks for being honest about how you feel. It’s good for us in smaller ministries to see that even the bigger ministry guys don’t always go for what is being advertised by a lot of the Christian world. I agre with your article whole heartedly.

    I also do not advertise for SYATP in our youth group. Every year there is a teen or two that comes up to me a few weeks before and asks about it, so i let thtem know that it is meant to be student driven. This way it gives them the advantage from the beginning to decide if they are ready and willing to move forward with it. I will then encourage them and let tehm know I will be praying for them. I also stay conected to them and constantly ask what their motives for doing it are.

    I too hate it when there is a group of adults who think they should be doing something at the schools “because it is our right”. My wife is a 4th grade teacher in the local elementary school. One day she was called into the office and reprimanded for not alowing a girl out of the “Time Release Bible Program”. It didn’t matter that the girl was failing math and they were right in the middle of a huge study to help them prepare for teh state test coming up. It didn’t matter that the family was sending her to this because if they did then the church would pick her up Sunday mornings and take her to church so that they didn’t have to. The only thing that mattered here was their “right to talk about the bible in public school”. The part they don’t know is how much the teachers in the building are turned off to Christ because of one local church’s actions in our schools. And knowing my wife is a youth pastor’s wife they are always asking her why Christian’s do that. The only response that can be said without gossip and without hurting her witness is to say that our church desn’t do that.

    So i guess I said a lot to say that I am agreement with you Jon and really enjoy your ability to step out of the norm in order to please God not man. I think SYATP has a lot of good intentions, I just feel the same as you. If you want God to change the teens in your communnity: pray in private with others who desire to see God change your community; get to know the teens by having relational interaction; Give your teens in your youth group the tools to use by teaching them how to go about relational evangelism in their schools. 3 story by YFC is an awesome tool that I have used in our ministry that has really changed how they see evangelism.

  13. Jim Keck says:

    Your write that you agree with the guy who said that “SYATP is Stupid”. In 20+ years of youth ministry I have never seen any “giant struggle with pride. Temptation while standing at the pole is, ‘Look at me!’ Not, ‘Look at God!’ ” Is that some stereotype that you’ve observed? I’ve attended many SYATP’s. I’ve listened to the sincere prayers of students, teachers, principals and pastors. I never remember pride playing a part.
    So, will Jesus say to SYATP participants, “Well done!”? Or, “That was Stupid!”? Or perhaps you think that is what is waiting for those of us who did promote it.

  14. Karen says:

    I am struggling with several of the posts. First of all,(Mr. does it really matter) a comment about the christians who show up aren’t “real Christians”. Wow! That is a very dangerous statement and I would hate to have him as my kids youth pastor. He obviously thinks he has super hero powers of reading someone’s heart.
    I can see Satan’s finger prints all over this blog. Taking Christians and instilling in them a desire to analyze and dissect a program meant to give teens skills needed to reach out to others. We need to be alert to the Great Deceiver’s desire to create dissension whenever several Christians band together for the glory of our Lord.

    I am aware of many teens who handle and plan this event who are stellar disciples. There are many examples of Christs ministry of prayer in public…most of His miracles involved a prayer and were done in very public places. There are certainly times when prayer is a private matter (most of the time) but we are also instructed to bathe things in prayer with fellow believers. Following Jonathon’s logic we should never congregate where we can be seen praying. Was it wrong to gather to pray after 9/11? Is the National Day of Prayer too public?
    I truly believe our schools are a battle ground…but not between us and them. A fight between good vs. evil…and trying to identify the “who is who” of that statement is not our purpose here. I see the disintegration of family values impacting our schools and I for one applaude any teen who is willing to stand up and pray for our schools, community, and nation.

    Is our faith and our walk so fragile that we can ONLY share it one-on-one? What would you tell Billy Graham about his ministry? He met in stadiums…outside…with speakers….

    I am just saying, I am thankful for teens who feel called and compelled to stand around that flag pole and pray for their schools and in many cases themselves. I cannot read their heart but that is not my role. I also think it is dangerous to assume any teen (who, I might add, ususally doesn’t like this type of attention)who shows up at SYATP ISN’T also making one-on-one connections.
    Jesus ministry model was a mix of many styles and many venues….not just one-on-one relational ministry.

    Analyze your own heart when attempting to analyze others. If you feel opposed to this program you shouldn’t participate but does that mean the program should be discontinued even for those whose hearts burn with the desire to “call out ” to God who is healer of all things…????
    Careful!!

    Blessings,
    Karen

  15. Darin says:

    I just never liked it.

  16. joe says:

    Jonathan, there were a couple posts here at the end that I am especially interested to hear your response to. You mind continuing this conversation a little longer? Specifically in response to Jim Keck and Karen (2 of the last 3)?

  17. Ken Todd says:

    I believe that it is what you make it, if we are resigned to accept an us vs them mentality, that we will feed that, whine and complain. Yes, there will always be some students who “don’t get it”, but there are others who see this as an opporutnity to stand with other believers not in a showy way, because honestly, many of them are shy and may not stand alone, but through being together at SYATP or any other type of program, courage can be built. Lives can be influnced.
    There is nothing wrong with being unashamed (Romans 12). Being unashamed does not have to translate to being obnoxious. Is it a crime to be proud of being a believer, of course not. All students dont do it because it is “our right”, for them, they are praying for their friends, school, famlies, and country.
    If students say “Get out of here” that is a problem with education and a religion mantality. Yes it is student run, but that doesnt mean we keep our mouth shut! We teach, rebuke, correct and train for righteousness (2 Tim 3). If our students are a bad example, what are “we” going to do about it?
    At our SYATP, probably like many of yours, we had mockers, the curious, the shy, the bold and the compassionate. Does that look much different than Americas churches?
    I dont get involved in it because of anyone else, I get involved because the students in YFC are stoked to be a part of it, they want to please God, they want to pray and worship Him through SYATP. They want to Honor him, that is why I get involved. I want to support them in what they are doing.

    A Quote from Sept 25th
    “The sad thing is most of these christians standing around the poles are really much of christians at all.”

    First I will do a dangerous thing and assume that the he meant “not really much of Chriatians at all.” in his post. If I am wrong than I apologize up front.
    In light of this, I just want to say that I hope that in my ministry, I have students who may not be much of Christians at all. I want those who are checking into the faith, scrutinizing the Bible and God, those who are honestly looking for truth and meaning in their lives. Thank God they are coming!!! Is it a bad thing to have “those” people at church or SYATP, I dont think so, they are there, so do something with them. Yeah many students are not spiritualy mature, the cave in, they make mistakes, but all the more they need someone to love them despite their problems.

    Lets not take beat up or shut something down because it is not perfect, if that was our standard for “our” ministries, I would have to hand in my resignation yesterday, and if we are honest, you would be right behind me.

    Just support the kids

  18. JONATHAN COMMENTS AGAIN

    Some of these comments are a little scary. Most are pretty polarized.

    First, a clarification. I’m not here to judge anyone who has done SYATP. I did the event for years with my kids. I have a ton of youth worker friends who try it with good motives and their kids pray with good motives.

    I’ve just noticed some huge concerns that have caused me to ask some big questions… the biggest being, “What is the purpose of this event… and is it Biblically based?” If you’re resistant to ask this question… that’s scary.

    Sometimes people start a movement, then go back and try to find some verses to support what they’re doing. That’s a little dangerous. Don’t try to find a unique little example of someone praying a prayer in public to try to justify this event. Look at the whole of scriptures. Seperate yourself from the event for a second and ask some honest questions: How should we pray? How can we be a salt to others around us?

    Some people seemed to be concerned that I am saying that all who do SYATP are bad. Sorry, I didn’t mean to communicate that at all. I just added the following to this blog to attempt to be even more clear:

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that anyone who has done SYATP has bad motives. A ton of us have tried SYATP with good motives. I’ve tried it for years. I’ve made videos, spoken at rallies, and encouraged my kids to attend. I think my motives were good. I think many of my kids motives were good. But after observing it for years, I’ve taken a step back and tried to take an honest look at the results. I encourage you to do the same. What did this event accomplish? Did it help my kids learn to pray? Was it helping them be an effective witness for Him? More importantly… ask yourself a bigger question. Why are we encouraging our kids to go do this public display of prayer when the Bible not only doesn’t support it, it seems to speak against it?

    I hope that helps clarify that we shouldn’t be judging people’s motives. I wouldn’t dare make a comment about whether people attending are real Christians or not.

    I just hope that we can equip our kids to be more like Jesus in every way. As we get into the WORD more, we’ll see how Jesus and the apostles lived that life. We’ll see a Jesus that washed feet, ate with sinners, and went away to pray by himself. We’ll see a Peter and John that didn’t say, “Look at us!” But said, “Don’t look at us as if we did this by our own power, it was through Jesus that we did this.” (Acts 3) We’ll see an Apostle Paul who says, “We don’t preach ourselves, we preach Christ the Lord.” (II Cor 4:5)

    Let’s let the truth of the scriptures guide our actions in every way.

    SYATP might have some good results. But I think SYATP wades in some scary waters.

  19. Tom Bilderback says:

    Well I knew this would stir up trouble when Jonathon mentioned it. Another minister in my area I had been talking about the effectiveness of SYATP. No the PRAYER part but how it was being done. We decide in our community (that it was our observation) that as we gathered prayed, worshipped , and ate that students not involved were trying to get around us. You could tell they felt left out and awkward to what was going on.
    What we did different aslo fit Gods vision for our youth minstry better. We did meet and pray early about a half hour before students arrived. We prayed about all the things we noramlly pray about and then about those we would encounter as school started. We had purchased about five times the amount of donuts and Sunny D we usually get. After prayer we set up tables at every entry and gave it all away. The students actually interacted with their peers. We were asked things Why would you do this?, Is this all for free?, What is the catch?. Some students struggled coming up with answers but I heard several say just because God loves you. It was great and I would love to see us do it again. The students also inserted a small card hanging out of the label telling them of the rally later that night. The students did all the worship , ALL the speaking and we saw several new students come to Christ.

  20. Linda says:

    Until this past year my children attended a Christian school and “meet you at the flag” was started last year. My children did not attend due to when they held it and my work schedule, but only 2 people showed up. I asked my kids about it, and they thought it was a neat idea, but didn’t understand why in a Christian school it wasn’t done each day… Fast forward to this year when my children attended the public HighSchool. There is a group within the school, run by a student (1 teacher overseer, but she is not allowed to run or comment during the time) that is a Christian Club. Well… the kids decided together to “meet at the flag” a half hour before school started. I had MANY misgivings and worries! I got some of the other parents together and we decided to watch from a distance (watching in-between trees! lol), but let our children make the decision. 20+ teens (and the 1 teacher that had to oversee) showed up and those that arrived early for school sat outside and just listened or went inside. There were 4 youthgroups/churches represented. Those that came, but were not in a yg have been going to each yg and trying them out. My children said they were asked about why people were around the flag, my kids told them, and 2 teens have started going to yg. I was worried about peer issues, safety, hecklers, etc… but… I found that because NO parents were there MAKING the teens do it, that the children were more respected for their individuality. I think the other factor that benefited the group was that not one of the students that attended berate those of different faiths or preferences. Even during their group time they listen to what everyone has to say – no judgement. Maybe a few churches and adults could benefit from learning from our Christian youth 🙂
    OKay, long winded, sorry 😀
    Linda

  21. Daniel says:

    Jonathan,
    You are exactly right when you said that so many times we start programs and then try to find a Scripture to back it up for our benefit. Like the gentleman above I kind of slipped out of SYATP because of the Youth Pastors that ran the program. Loud, brash, LOVING Jesus (and hating sinnners), and usually shameless self-promotion of themselves and their “ministries”. If we can’t step back and evaluate every thing we do biblically then we need to RUN our way out of ministry. Man how I need those reminders and before I asked my kids to show up at a SYATP rally I would begin to instruct them on the importance of praying for their school and their friends daily. ANYBODY can go to a rally. ANYBODY can organize a rally. Sadly very few can love as we should. May God help us all and spread His mercy upon us as we strive to serve HIM.

  22. Choc says:

    I’m really surprised at this post and it’s comments. I really have to wonder are we pointing fingers in the right place?

    The problem I see here is that See You at the Pole is kind of amoral, if you will. It has no motive in and of itself. It only has the motive that local youth pastor’s teach students to give it.

    See You at the Pole started as a group of students praying AT NIGHT for their friends and classmates. And guess what God showed up on those campuses! Those original students LOVED their fellow students and were broken before God to see Him change their lives. Word spread of that move of God in that tiny Texas town to the State of Texas and eventually throughout the world.

    Nothing impure there.

    The real question is have we (I am including myself here) local youth pastors made See You at the Pole into something that honors God OR have we made it into something that honors us by pushing the “numbers/protest” angle to get our students to show up so we will feel better about ourselves?

    Ladies and gentlemen, See You at the Pole is a wonderful opportunity for our students to pray, but it is what WE make of it.

  23. Kevin Martin says:

    Hey! I know this is a 3 year old discussion but I wanted to poke my head on in here and see if anyone could help me out. 🙂

    I don’t understand why it’s a problem to be praying in public. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I feel like Jesus (at least in Matthew 6) was referring to those who make a big deal of it for the sake of bolstering their own ego and making everyone think they’re more awesome because of it. But in the case of See You at the Pole, I don’t think that’s the intent. Shouldn’t we make people wonder? Obviously it’s possible that some kids won’t get it and may approach it the wrong way… But that, IMO is why we need to help them understand exactly why they’re there.

    • Kevin… I think prayer is all about intent. If we pray with the intent of “look at me… look what a good praying person I am!” …then we’re missing the point. See you at the Pole is a good thing when Christians can find other Christians at school and then begin to be an encouragement to each other on campus. See You at the Pole gets dangerous when it begins a “We vs. Them” mentality, which I have seen WAAAAAAY too often from Christians. So to be honest… it’s all about leadership. If good Christian leaders help the kids around the pole understand how God can use this, and steer clear of how “man” can misuse this… then that’s a big help. That’s just my 2 cents. I hope it’s a small help.

  24. Layton says:

    Jon, thank-you for this post and for keeping it up for so long. I was pondering this last year and am trying to decide what to do this year. I feel almost peer-pressured to do this event even though I agree with your comments. I went to a Christian school and we never did this event. I first did it here as a youth pastor. At the time, the youth leaders regularly met and the youth groups did events together. It seemed more natural to come and pray together. Now, with various leadership changes and everyone on their own agenda we hardly ever talk. SYATP feels like one of those things someone started long ago for a great reason and worked well, but now is forced upon us (I’m speaking of ours here). I also thought of the public praying and noticed those that come to pray, but when I sub at school are not the loving Christians they represented around the pole. Not all are that way, but I wonder if this is fight worth fighting.

    To be honest, I think a better event or day would be “SYATT” – See You At The Table. We could have a day to encourage families to pray together. The issue to me isn’t whether teens are praying, but whether parents and specifically fathers are leading their kids and teens in prayer. If they learn to pray at home each day it will stick much longer than one day.

    NOTE: I do like the ideas of meeting to pray, but behind the school or in private or even at night. I also liked the idea of serving the other students and teachers at the school. That sounds much better.

  25. Good comments Layton. Keep it in prayer. If you and your students go into this thing seeking HIS will and seeking to glorify Him… whatever you do will bear fruit.