From Boys To Men: A Catalyst For Change

David shares how he watched his students change from boys to men.

David has led a student small group since 2014. The students in his group just graduated in 2023. We asked him to share about his time as a leader. 

Here is what he had to say…

Between junior high and high school ministries, I’ve been with my boys for about nine years (started 2014). New guys have jumped in along the way and some have found other paths, but, amazingly, a core group has been with me almost the entire time. We’ve fellowshipped and worshipped together, we’ve explored doubts together, we’ve huddled in a group, and we’ve gone deep in smaller settings. I’ve sat with a young man in the hospital waiting room as his family confronted ceasing life support for his mom.  I’ve journeyed mental health challenges with my boys, and I’ve gone to their schools to see them compete in sports. I’ve comforted and mentored a boy that was bullied as a result of his autism. And somehow we navigated COVID-19,  complete with backyard jacuzzi baptisms and worship through masks.

By far, the single greatest catalyst for bonding on this journey was HSM (High School Ministry) summer camp. I had just made the leap from junior high to high school, and I soon found myself on a bus bound for Colorado. I was teamed with boys that, for the most part, I did not know well and with whom I had not spent much time. There were awesome activities, teaching, and worship sessions.  But, by far, the best times were just sitting outside on the grass as a small group exploring the themes of the week and life in general.  A picture of me with those boys in the parking lot of Eastside after the long bus ride home still sits proudly on my desk. 

Most of my boys are graduating this year and will be headed to new adventures.  But I have no doubt HSM impacted their lives; I know it has forever impacted mine.

High School Students Summer Camp

David with his HSM small group at camp their freshman year.

A picture of me with those boys in the parking lot of Eastside after the long bus ride home still sits proudly on my desk.

David had the opportunity to pray over all the 2023 seniors during their senior brunch. He offered this impactful prayer that should continue to be echoed.

  • Our Father in heaven
  • One and the same Father that blesses and guides each and every one of us in this room 
      • as well as the innumerable venturers who have come before us
  • We give you thanks
      • We give you thanks for these incredible students as they finish their high school journeys
      • We give you thanks for family and parents that supported and guided them in their journeys
      • We give you thanks for the Eastside High School Ministry program and community
      • And I, personally, give you thanks for the privilege and pleasure of being a part of these incredible individuals’ lives and for them being an invaluable part of my own.
  • And Lord God, I have just one simple request for them — love.
      • My request, Lord, is that they would know that in all places, at all times, and in all circumstances, they are loved.
      • They are loved by their parents and families
      • They are loved by this HSM community, now and always
      • But most important of all, they are loved by You.
  • May they come to know that love with all of their hearts, Lord
      • May they come to know that You love them because of who You are,
          • Not because of who they may or may not be or become
      • May they come to know that there is nothing they have done nor anything they could ever do that did, could, or will disqualify them from Your love
  • Your love is not contingent or dependent on the choices that they have made or that lie before them
  • Your love is not greater or lesser depending on the college, career, or other personal path they choose
  • Your love is not sometimes strong and sometimes absent, though it may seem that way to us
  • And most important of all, when the struggles and challenges of this world are at their worst and seem most overwhelming
      • Grant them the humility to look to You and not themselves to find comfort, resolution, and strength to rise to the challenge.
  • And these truths about your love are done, established and never change because You loved us enough to have sent Your Son, Jesus, to forever solidify our relationship with You through His sacrifice on the cross.
      • His work is done and finished, and nothing any of us could ever do or think can undo what Jesus did or separate us from Your eternal love.
  • In Deuteronomy 31:8, 
      • as Joshua was beginning the greatest new journey of his life
      • taking over as leader of the children of Israel as Moses prepared to die
      • You assured Joshua and all of Israel through Moses
          • “So be strong and courageous! 
          • Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. 
          • For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. 
          • He will neither fail you nor abandon you.””
              • Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
  • Your promise is as true here, today, for these young people as it was in ancient times.
  • And the foundation of that promise is Your unwavering love and faithfulness
  • Grant each and every one of us the daily assurance that Your love always goes ahead of us and it will never fail or abandon us.
  • In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

At Eastside we have a relentless love and commitment for all to know God.  Eastside’s High School Ministry exists to help students transform their homes, schools, community and the world by Pursuing God, Building Community, and Unleashing Compassion.  If you have or know a high school student invite them! If you are passionate about investing in the next generation, we’d love to have you check us out. We are committed to finding unique ways for you to serve and use your gifts.

in high school ministry