See You at the Pole™ is September 23
by Doug Clark
Twenty years and praying
See you at the Pole™ 2009 is scheduled for Wednesday, September 23, at schools across the United States and in many other countries.
This year’s See You at the Pole (SYATP) marks the 20th year for this student-initiated and student-led movement that started in the Ft. Worth suburb of Burleson, Texas, in 1990 (Read the history here.). SYATP brings students to their school flagpoles to intercede for their leaders, schools, and families, asking God to bring moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and countries.
In 2008, teenagers met for See You at the Pole in every U.S. state and many countries around the world (read about it here). Other nations have launched SYATP movements with their own promotional efforts, including Australia (where it was observed in 2009 on May 21; see stories at SYATP Australia) and Canada (on the same date as U.S.; see SYATP Canada).
The theme for SYATP this year is “engage: Go and pray...”(2 Kings 22:13a) and comes from 2 Kings. In this story, a young man named Josiah began one of the greatest revivals and awakenings in the Old Testament. Josiah had become king of Israel at the age of eight. Scripture tells us that at the age of 16, he began to pursue God passionately. Like his forefather, David, he began to show signs of godliness early on and gained the respect of the people. 2 Kings 22:2 states, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father, David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”
This resulted in radical obedience — getting rid of everything that did not honor God and challenging everyone around him to do likewise. These actions resulted in a mighty move of God in his day — actually, one of the greatest ever!
As youth workers share the challenge of See You at the Pole with their students, it might be relevant to use the example of Josiah to ask them:
- How about you? Do you desire to see a mighty move of God on your campus?
- Are you pursuing God passionately?
- Are you serious about radical obedience?
- Are you determined to get rid of anything and everything that dishonors God and ready to challenge your friends to do the same?
This year’s theme verse for See You at the Pole comes from the heart of this story. Right after the newly discovered Scriptures were read to Josiah, the Bible says, “When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.” In other words, his heart was pierced with conviction. (Read the full story.)
In the story, King Josiah heard the words of God and proclaimed:
“Go and pray to God for me and for the people . . .“ - 2 KINGS 22:13a (The Message)
Challenging teenagers to “engage” means offering a simple challenge:
- ENGAGE your school
- ENGAGE your community
- ENGAGE your world . . . for God’s glory!
Help them understand that See You at the Pole is a great place to:
- ENGAGE God,
- ENGAGE with other believers, and
- ENGAGE His heart for your campus . . . in the name of Christ.
Everything necessary for students to plan and promote their SYATP is available free here. Brochures, a promotional DVD, tee-shirts, and posters are just some of the materials available for 2009. Many of the tools are free downloads, so students or youth workers can create customized local publicity, put a SYATP link on your web page or create SYATP-themed media with the video tools. Additional promotional resources can be ordered online or by calling (817) HIS-PLAN (447-7526) between 9-5 Monday-Friday (Central Time).
Public Service Announcements (PSA) are also available free for download in MP3 format. To access these spots by recording artists and Christian leaders, go to www.syatp.com and click on “Media.”
The National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM) coordinates SYATP promotion. Paul Fleischmann, NNYM president, commented: “For 20 years, we have seen this day serve as a springboard for unity for teenagers on their secondary and college campuses. See You at the Pole unites students in prayer at the beginning of the school year. Challenging youth to take leadership on their campus is always a good idea. It’s important to remember that though it has a 20-year history, it’s fresh to today’s students.”
Churches can show support for See You at the Pole by sponsoring special “Campus Challenge Sunday” commissioning services September 19-20, the weekend before See You at the Pole. Participants will recognize and pray for Christian students and educators in their congregations. Campus Challenge Sunday resources, including sermon outlines and program ideas, have been created by the Network and can be downloaded free from www.everyschool.com.
Ultimately, See You at the Pole is all about prayer. It’s about you coming together and laying aside all of the labels and groups for one day, to simply engage with God in prayer and connect with fellow Christians in unity around the flag pole.
Even after 20 years, that never goes out of style.