On November 7th, 2017 Jon Olsen, a junior high pastor, reached out to meet about reaching the lost youth of Long Beach. We met at a Starbucks (the unofficial office of youth pastors) and began talking about what a multi-church approach to reaching the youth of Long Beach for Christ would look like. We talked about tactics we have tried to get onto public middle schools in the area, and various efforts to encourage students to engage in peer to peer evangelism. God guided our discussion to have us arrive at a crucial realization.

 

Our students face spiritual opposition in the form of peer pressure, shame, and a hostile culture. This makes evangelism incredibly difficult for a young believer. Additionally, students feel alone in their faith at school. They are unaware of the myriad of students that surround them that are from other churches, not just their own.

 

This realization was the foundation for what would become Donuts and Dodgeball (DnD from here on out.) Jon and I realized that students need their understanding of the church family expanded. Tragically, our junior highers only think of the believers in their own youth group to be their church family. God made it clear to Jon and me that a multi-church event centered around evangelism could be one way to open students’ eyes to the larger family they have in Christ and thus the more teammates they have for the sake of sharing the Gospel.

 

A planning meeting was set, other churches were invited, and the first DnD event was set for February 2nd, 2018. Fast-forward to October 11th, 2019 and the third annual Donuts and Dodgeball event is upon us! (Third because we have done two in February and have switched to October for better weather) This is an event put together by 6 churches from all around the Long Beach area. DnD is an event that is engineered to attract all junior high age students ranging from regular church attendees to church naysayers. What makes this event especially appealing to students is the FREE donuts from Krispy Kreme coupled with the largest dodgeball tournament Long Beach has ever seen. (We had a whopping 150 students participating in last year’s tournament!) Additionally, other games such as gaga ball, 9-square, KanJam, ladder ball, and a photobooth make this event inviting to students who may not be interested in dodgeball but would like to hang out with friends. Toward the end of the night the Gospel is presented by a guest speaker just before the final game is played between the top two teams. Each year students are challenged to consider the problem of sin, their need for a savior, and who Jesus is. Before students leave, they receive a flyer that has a map of Bible-believing youth ministries in the area, along with the contacts for each youth leader. Students are encouraged to check out a church near them if they would like to be apart of the community that they got a taste of throughout the night.

 

Perhaps more exciting than the event itself is the conversations students are having before and after the event. DnD provides students with an easy conversation starter with their peers that do not know Christ, that can easily lead to a discussion about God. God is moving powerfully in our youth and they need your help! Pray for the hearts of the lost, that God would draw them to Himself and plant them in a healthy church community. (John 6:44; Acts2:42-47) Pray for the hearts of church-going students, that they would be emboldened by the Spirit to share the hope they have in Christ with their peers and invite them into Christian community. (Acts 1:8; Luke 12:12)

 

Philip Breaux

"Students feel alone in their faith at school. They are unaware of the myriad of students that surround them that are from other churches, not just their own."

"What makes this event especially appealing to students is the FREE donuts from Krispy Kreme coupled with the largest dodgeball tournament Long Beach has ever seen. (We had a whopping 150 students participating in last year’s tournament!)"

"Toward the end of the night the Gospel is presented by a guest speaker just before the final game is played between the top two teams. "

"DnD provides students with an easy conversation starter with their peers that do not know Christ, that can easily lead to a discussion about God. "

©2013 CORNERSTONE CHURCH

1000 N. STUDEBAKER RD.

LONG BEACH, CA 90815