Bethel students show Jesus’ love to middle schoolers through the ministry of WyldLife
Culture | Amanda Ahlm
Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Kassie Hall.
Many students have had “mountain-top” spiritual experiences that have changed their lives. Each experience was most likely spurred through the ministry of someone else.
Seven Bethel sophomores have decided to take on the challenge to be that catalyst for change in the lives of middle schoolers.
Kassie Hall felt called last spring to work with middle school students. She prayed that an opportunity would present itself. Later in the spring, one did. Hall and six others, Bethany Hall, Margaret Gill, Justin Giuliano, Jeremy Tan, Lauren Olson and Ryan Engelsma, decided to take the initiative and start a WyldLife club at Kassie's house in Rogers, Minn.
WydLife is a biweekly opportunity for 6th-8th grade students to meet up with college-aged leaders focused on teaching the gospel through an evening focused on building relationships and having fun. The Rogers club gets an average of 25-30 students every time they meet.
According to the Wyldlife website, “Leaders use personal testimonies, media clips, popular songs and a lot of creativity when planning the club format.” It is a subset of the popular YoungLife ministry for high school students.
“The best part about leading WyldLife is growing and learning with the kids,” said Kassie.
One major benefit of WyldLife is the “contact work” the college students do with the middle schoolers. Kassie and the other Bethel students go into these students’ middle schools and volunteer.
“This is an awesome time because we get to see the kids in school and kind of let them know that we are there for them,” Kassie said.
After less than a year of leading these students, Kassie shared a story of change that she saw in one of the girls at her club.
During the fall, they took the students up to a camp where they were able to spend a weekend teaching them more than what they had been able to teach in their Monday night meetings. One girl approached both Kassie and Bethany Hall and told them that she knew all the facts and “she wanted something that was beyond the facts.”
“It was a miraculously breath-taking moment that I will never forget,” Kassie said.
While the experience is great for these Bethel students, they do face challenges at times. Kassie said that the hardest part is meeting these middle school students where they are at in their walks with Christ. At Bethel, students are surrounded by people who know the Christian jargon, and they can use that and be understood. However, on Monday nights at club, she said, it is difficult to remember not to break out the confusing words that the students, who may not have a Christian background, won't understand.
For her and the rest of the students serving with her, this is a challenge worth overcoming, and because of this, Kassie plans on continuing with WyldLife, driven by her care for the students she leads.
She stated, “The one thing I have learned from this ministry is that I learn just as much from them as they do from me and the other leaders.”