Campus Ministry

I Bet You Have No Idea What I’ve Been Through

23 kids came out to “Breakfast Club” on this particular day on campus last month. I don’t know what drew Jessica out. The chocolate chip pancakes? Her friends? But “Jessica” was searching for… something.

“Breakfast Club” is another open door that one of the local campuses in our area has extended to us. When we first approached the school a few years ago, we didn’t come to them trying to promote our own program, we came to serve (I’ve written to you about the importance of this before). After serving the campus for a while, we asked the question, “How would you feel about us having a Breakfast Club before school in a classroom?” We assured the school that we would feed hungry kids – yet also show video clips and have small group discussions about real life issues. They know we’re Christ followers and we were clear that there would be conversations about faith – yet ALL would be welcomed. The school embraced the idea and the first teacher I asked to host us agreed!

Each week over 20 mostly lost and hurting kids showed up before school. We served hot chocolate, chocolate chip pancakes, pastries and other goodies (remember what Jesus did with a few loaves and some fish?). Music was pumping and the feel was very inviting.

Jessica entered the classroom with her head hung low and her hair covering her face. It appeared she had dressed to shock and to get a reaction out of people.  As she entered the room heads turned – the vibe in the room was clearly, “why is she here?” I introduced myself and sat Jessica at a table with a group of girls and a caring female staff person. I noticed that her left arm had dark and bold writing covering it. I asked out of curiosity if I could read it…she agreed and seemed excited that somebody noticed and even cared!  It read…

“Sometimes the words that hurt the most are the ones you don’t say but are seen in your eyes while you judge me.  It’s the ones that are said behind my back – and I bet you have no idea what I’ve been through, I bet you never asked or even cared.”

It was time to start our discussion for the morning, but I couldn’t get the writing on her arms out of my head.

As God would have it, none of the technology worked that morning.

Plan B: I quickly prayed under my breath and whispered to Jessica if she would mind standing and reading the words on her arm to the group. Without hesitation she shot to her feet and boldly proclaimed the poem she had written on her arm.  I thanked her and then I led a large group discussion about her poem – it was awesome! She felt validated and other kids were made aware of others and the pain and sense of isolation that many others have.

Jessica has been every week since, and The Breakfast Club is gaining a reputation of a place where you won’t be judged and people care. Over 30 kids plus some staff packed the room this week – excited to hear about the hope that only Jesus can provide.

With a little work on the front end I’m convinced that the school down the street could really invigorate your youth group and awaken your soul to the needs of students like Jessica.

What are you waiting for?


Rob Maxey

is a 20-year youth ministry veteran who has worked full time for Campus Life for the last 14 years. He serves on two campuses weekly and runs several campus ministries both on and off campus in partnerships with local churches. Rob has been interviewed several times in Jonathan's podcasts on and Jonathan drew from his expertise throughout his book, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. Rob serves on the national Campus Life team at Youth for Christ USA.

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