Bay City Christian School middle and high school students were enlisted and then divided into special forces units — Marine Recon, Army Rangers, or Navy Seals.  The weeklong “War of the Special Forces” helped kick off the first full week of the school year — with some wild games, competition, preaching, and community outreach led by Minuteman Ministries’ Evangelist Jim Van Gelderen and his team.  

“They did a great job interacting with the kids,” Dr. Phillips continued. “It’s a about a revival in the students’ hearts, more than anything else… just give them a chance to focus and unify them so we’re all together in the same kind of thing, encouraging them to live right and honor the Lord.  There’s energy to it.  There’s excitement, and I knew the preaching would be convicting and thought-provoking.”

Throughout the week, students attended daily chapel services or team meetings.  Dr. Van Gelderen has been working with this ministry since 1984, and he enjoys seeing God at work in the hearts of youth. “Our burden first of all is for the Christian school and that God would work in the hearts of the young people bring them to the next spiritual step, whatever that is. Then our second burden is to reach into our community and have unsaved kids come into our rally nights.”

Those evening rallies took place Wednesday through Friday.  Our students and the “Special Forces” team invited youth from our community out for some unusual, competitive games and a gospel message. During each of the evening rallies, about a half dozen teens from the community and one of our own students made a profession of faith.

8th grade Bay City student Rayney Wilson not only loved the games, she was also excited to see so many make decisions for the Lord. “Last night we got so many to come. It was surprising to see so many people respond to the gospel.”

“I like the games.  They were really interesting, and the preaching was really good.  I think that especially the preaching — it’s really a boost to our Christian life and the way we do things,” said high school sophomore Garrett Hager.  “It will definitely change my outlook on certain things. It will impact me in how I do my work and how I view the year.”

Dr. Phillips expects to have this event back about every other year. “I like the idea of starting off the school year with something. Now that we’ve got this ball rolling, we’ll probably be able to do something next year of a different kind — whether it’s an overnight stay at someplace simple.  It’s just the idea to be able to focus on your spiritual life for a day or two before you start the routine of the year.”

And congratulations to the Army Rangers!  They took first place in this year’s “War of the Special Forces.”