Jeff Jarvis, Maggie, and The Walk

YoRocko began with a flurry of posts about Jeff Jarvis’s book, What Would Google Do (WWJD). Several months on from those posts, some things are happening at the church I serve that are bringing to life some of the book’s ideas.

Example: The Walk for The Hungry. Our church participates in this event every year, organized by a great local organization called the Inland Valley Hope Partners. Since I’ve been at the church, our participation has been pretty straightforward: a handful of youth collect sponsors in the weeks before the walk, then show up for the event. This follows weeks of bulletin announcements, newsletter articles, postcards to youths’ homes, emails, and direct text messages. When the walk is over, we call it a day; regular youth groups don’t meet that night.

This year I tried something different. Following a hunch that I teased out a bit in this post, I let the event be a platform for youth to do what they want to do. Trusting that our church and community are full of teens who want to do meaningful things, I recruited one of them (we’ll call her “Maggie”) to organize our church’s group of walkers. The student I chose has not once attended youth group in her two-plus years of high school.

Starting a month out from the event, Maggie made announcements in worship and manned a display-decked table to sign up walkers and collect donations after church. She was, of course, fantastic. Our church raised more money than any other church who participated.

More importantly, though, Maggie involved a bunch of her friends in the walk, so that half of our “church” group of walkers were young people who’ve never been to our church before and who’s only connection to it was Maggie, a student who heretofore had participated in exactly zero youth ministry events at the church.

The church was a platform for youth in our community to get involved in something important, and I was impressed to death with the kids who were there, most of whom I’d never met before. Mostly, though, I was impressed with Maggie, and hopeful for what she’ll be leading the church to get involved in next.

See pictures of our walking group here.