What does it look like to live on staff? For a few weeks, a month or two, or even the entire summer, you could be part of our family and live on staff! “Being a Christian, I love the Gospel. I love evangelizing, sharing the Gospel with the unbeliever. I feel like this place is perfect for me,” said Andrew, who serves on our evangelism team and also helps teach apologetics to the youth groups. “Once I came here, I loved everything about it.” Have you heard good things about being on staff? Are you curious to know what it would be like to join? Come along for an imaginary Tuesday!
Your day begins with a few quiet hours to work on personal projects or devotions. You have some chores to do, so you spend some time getting cleaning projects out of the way— you want your afternoon later to be free. You poke around in the laundry room for the mop and cleaning supplies, and when your work is finished, you change into your red Chapel shirt and grab your backpack. The time? 11:15. You need to get to the Chapel.
There is an optional prayer meeting at 11:30 at the Chapel. You walk there with another staffer, and sit down. A few more staffers appear and some youth groupers show up for prayer. There’s about ten people, so you break up into two small groups. You spend the next twenty minutes or so in the presence of your Creator, asking for Him to bless the work for today, asking Him to carry your burdens, asking for His name to be hallowed. Around noon, it’s time to rush downstairs for evangelism training. You grab a chair and head below the Chapel.
Afternoons at the Chapel look different depending on which team you’re on. Evangelism team meets to study together. Music team spends the first hour and a half practicing. Drama team memorizes lines and grabs the stage when the music team clears out. Chris Byrd works with the youth group, going over evangelism training and instructing them in the basics of sharing their faith. A few people stay by the front of the Chapel, ready to talk to anyone who stops by. The air is hot in the Chapel, and all the windows are open in an attempt to get some air moving. But there’s a joy.
“I love singing, and Matt does a really good job teaching us,” said Kenzie, who served on Junior Staff this year. “I like that we also involve the youth group in it too, even if they don’t know the song. I like that we can incorporate the youth group into it—and it also makes it a lot more powerful than just four or five of us singing.”
Around 1:30, things switch up. The youth group gets a lunch break, and the music team moves from working with Chapel staff to working with the youth group’s songs. Drama team spends time on stage practice, and the drama coordinator works with the youth group’s skits, getting them ready for the program that night. Evangelism team goes back to their studies. As the afternoon progresses, you remember you’re on Chapel cleanup today and so you grab a broom and start sweeping. By the time three o’ clock rolls around, you and the rest of the cleanup crew are just about finished. The midafternoon sun is beating down, and it’s time to head back to the Dunn and Chanoux houses.
When you get home, you enjoy some time in fellowship with other staffers. The domestics team is hard at work at this time, preparing dinner. Delicious smells are coming from the kitchen. You take a minute to bother the domestics leader, Avery, about what’s for dinner. You step aside and spend some time reading and studying some of the books on the Chapel library shelf in the living room, before joining in a spikeball game in the yard. It isn’t long before dinner time appears.
“Probably the fellowship that we have is my favorite part,” said Kenzie. “I love the dinners. I love it when we’re all together and we can talk before the dinners, playing games and doing fun things beforehand. You can just catch up during dinner. That’s my favorite part.”
Everyone gathers under the tent in the yard. Chris Byrd asks a young man on staff to lead the group in prayer, thanking God for the food. As soon as the amen is said, the group breaks into song, praising God in doxology.
Once your plate is piled high with delicious hot food, you head back to the picnic tables and dig in, checking in on other people to ask how their day has gone. But in a way, it’s too early to answer. The real work for the day hasn’t quite arrived.
One of the evangelism leaders stands up and leads the group in a short devotional. Then the group closes in song. Any announcements are made to the team, and then dinner cleanup begins. Those who aren’t on cleanup go and get ready for the evening. Red Chapel shirts are once again put on and as the time ticks onward, it’s time to return to the Chapel.
You arrive at the Chapel at 7:26, a few minutes early. Everyone gathers onstage to open the sound check time in prayer. While the youth group stays onstage for sound check, you go collect a box of tracts—settling down on a stool, you start folding.
You’re part of one of the songs tonight in the program, so when it’s time to sound check that, you go up onstage and practice with the team. Meanwhile, a few staffers on the evangelism team are handing out tracts and letting people know about the program that starts at 8:30. By the time 8:30 rolls around, sound check is over, tracts are folded, and you settle into your seat.
The program goes well. In the second half of it, you go outside the Chapel to do evangelism, handing out tracts. You think back to how much you’ve learned about evangelizing since the beginning of the summer, and you’re thankful for all God has taught you. “I’ve always had a heart for missions, and being here at the boardwalk gives you an opportunity to practice and to learn how to share the Gospel,” said Jennifer, one of our female counselors. “Not only how to share your testimony with other people, but to share the Gospel. It also helps you get over that fear of talking to someone.”
One person stops and you have a very encouraging conversation. While you sense a reluctance from her against God, she acknowledges her sinfulness and expresses a desire to know more. You urge her to seek God while he may be found, and give her the Gospel of John. The night goes on, and all of a sudden it’s ten o’clock and the program’s over.
Rich announces the teams for the night. Your team is doing sign evangelism, so you grab a handful of tracts, a New Testament, and the sign. You gather with your group and pray before you go out, asking God for courage, for the words to say, for humility.
It’s a busy night out on the boardwalk. Crowds and crowds of people rush by.
But then people start to stop. For the next hour, you’re blessed by two deep conversations. The rest of the time, you get a couple brief encounters, a few rude comments. But in the two deep conversations you have, you get to dive into the Gospel and Christ’s work on the cross. Your faith is strengthened. When it’s time to go back to the Chapel, you have mixed feelings about the night. But you’re thankful. You were rejected, but God was also kind and sent that last, good conversation.
You make it back to the Chapel by 11:30 and quickly close in prayer. Debrief starts, and youth groupers and staffers share about what God taught them that night evangelizing. Uplifting stories are shared, and you give thanks.
“How amazing it is, every night throughout the summer, on this boardwalk on which there are tens of thousands of people—there are dozens of Christians sharing the Gospel,” Chris Byrd said. “Not just one week out of the summer, or a couple nights, but every night. It’s just an amazing thought. Thinking about the unbelievers walking on the boardwalk, coming here on vacation—here are these Christians, sharing the Gospel.”
The Chapel door is shut. It’s very late. Staffers head out of out of the Chapel, ready to begin the walk home together. The day is over, the night has come. The city lights contrast with the darkness of the sky.
And you’re thankful.