Q and A with Derek Evans

Posted on by COYFC

It's difficult to start a new YFC Club in normal times, but imagine trying to start one during COVID-19? But that's what Derek Evans and his team have done in Dublin, Ohio.  Below, Derek shares some thoughts on the process of getting this club off the ground, and his long-term plans for the area teens.

 

Why are you drawn to working with teens?

I came to Christ when I was 16 years old. I was completely lost and away from God. I was invited to a high school aged bible study and was able to understand the gospel through authentic relationships with other students as well as adult leaders. Without that intervention I shudder at what my life may have become. I want to provide that same opportunity to hear the gospel and live for Jesus with the students we are reaching in the Dublin/Hilliard region.

 

Why does YFC want to start a club in Dublin?

Because the spiritual needs of students do not disappear when they come from wealthy families! Dublin is a growing community full of students who need to hear the gospel. I was personally led to the Dublin area because many youth movements in the area have sputtered or failed long-term because they could not win students to consistent discipleship. I hope to be able to flip the script and have a multiplying network of clubs in the area that reach students for Christ.

 

You joined staff right as COVID began. How has it been trying to build a club during a global pandemic?

Joining staff at the beginning of COVID was extremely challenging. There are still some people I work with who I have not met in person! However, it gave a unique opportunity to spend a lot of time in prayer and study to prepare myself for this role. In some ways, it was actually a blessing to be held back for a period in order to develop a vision for what God wants the club to be, especially since I like to dive right into things.

Meeting students was particularly challenging. There were a good number of "swings and misses". We struck gold when I was able to volunteer with an organization that provided a Learning Enrichment Center for students in the Dublin/Hilliard area. I tutored students and asked them about their lives. It was tremendous to have a regular venue to meet students and have intentional conversations. The LEC was a crucial step in starting a club.

Starting a club in particular has been challenging because of COVID. I was pretty discouraged for a while. However, Nathan Baer and I began holding a small group bible study with boys at the LEC. We shared the gospel and discussed how Jesus empowers us to have different character qualities (i.e. patience, love, kindness). A few students in particular enjoyed these discussions and asked more questions afterward. 

One week I asked one of the students if he would be interested in doing a bible club. He enthusiastically said yes and as we were discussing how/when he was already inviting friends to attend the club launch! We then had our three main students all excited to start a club together and learn more about the bible.

 

You had your first club meeting recently. How was that?

Our first club meeting was a great success. All three of our boys who committed to coming showed up eager to learn. We started off by playing some three-on-three basketball to help the boys get a sweat going so that they could actually think later. In all my years doing ministry with teenagers, playing sports BEFORE you study the bible is a crucial step to getting guys to relax and discuss. 

We then did a teaching on John 1 where we discussed what John the Baptist meant when he described Jesus as the "Lamb of God". The students eagerly spoke up with thoughts and questions. My main emphasis at this time is to help answer questions they have about God, but also to present the gospel in a way that they’ll understand. After the teaching we played some more sports until the boys were exhausted, then we got some Wendy's and hung out for an hour or so.

One exciting takeaway I had from this meeting was not only that the boys were eager to hang out and had a lot of questions, but that they didn't want to go home afterwards! It was a bit like pulling teeth because nobody wanted to be the first person dropped off! 

 

What is your long-term goal for the club?

My long-term goal for this club is to become a self-replicating discipleship network that reaches every corner of the Dublin/Hilliard area. To accomplish that goal we need to make small progress each week and faithfully pray that the Lord will show us each step to take. 

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