It was exactly one year ago. We had just gotten off the bus from our annual winter retreat. I jumped in my car, smelling like campfire smoke and needing to sleep, and I drove straight to Corona Del Mar High School where the school—and me— had just received word that a student had committed suicide at a local park. The park being just a couple blocks away from my church.
This student made headlines across the country. This suicide wasn’t like any other. He was a high school student that, in short, felt crippling anxiety, depression, and stress from school, as his letters he wrote to the community depicted… The community was devastated—and still is. As am I.
In response to this heartbreaking news I wrote a letter and read it the following Sunday to my students at Mariners HSM. This letter went viral online (whatever that means), and many pastors across the country reached out for a copy of it.
Life in Orange County isn’t different, necessarily, than life anywhere else. The stresses are the same, the financial troubles are the same, students still wake up for early 6am sports practice—this happens everywhere. But what I can say is that those things are elevated uniquely in the OC. As someone who didn’t grow up here I can attest to this first-hand. I have never seen so many students care about their education, care about their body image, care about their ACT scores as I have seen here.
None of these are bad, but when they become the primary focus of a students life, they no longer become ‘A’ thing and become ‘THE’ thing. In a world where political rhetoric collides, a place where the divorce rate is well over 50%, a place where drugs are easy to find, a place where education is for overvalued than the world finds necessary… Jesus is more needed, more necessary, and more relevant than ever!
Well today we might take one step closer to finding freedom here. Exactly 1 year later God has given us Youth Culture Weekend. A weekend dedicated to knowing this truth.
It’s all about the weekend for students. Weekends are what they live for. Weekends are where they create memories that last forever. Whether a party, a dance, or a weekend getaway, weekends are everything…A weekend, I believe, can change the direction of a students life forever. It’s time to see what GOD can do with a weekend.
I love you, Students in OC.
Let’s get this bread!
Til’ next time,