Cupcake Day & Discussion Recap

Every Thursday I visit one of our local high schools to help run a student ministry called ISCF (Inner School Christian Fellowship). For the last three years we have put on an event called Cupcake Day where, during lunch, we give away hundreds of free cupcakes to the students and staff. This past Tuesday we gave away 1,300 cupcakes during the 45 minute lunch period…awesome! It’s such a great way to make someone’s day a little brighter and show the love of Jesus in a simple, practical, and enjoyable way.

Along with free cupcakes, we handed out a flyer inviting people to our Thursday ISCF meeting which was scheduled to be an open discussion on the topic of the afterlife. I thought I would jot down a few thoughts from that discussion today and share them for whoever is curious to know what went down. Here are a few things I noticed.

Everyone loves free food. We gave away free cupcakes on Tuesday and for our meeting today we gave away free pizza. Not the healthiest of food giveaways, but everyone seems to love it anyways. Hey, who says ministry can’t be fun?

There is a lot of diversity in beliefs. Obviously on a world-wide scale, religious views are all over the map. But even in a smaller school of about 900 (do the cupcake math…yup, more than 1 per student) there was a good variety of opinions about the afterlife. Views included heaven and hell, reincarnation, purgatory/place of the departed, and annihilationism (once you’re gone, you’re gone). So the discussion was lively and varied, which made for great conversation.

You’d be surprised at some people’s insight. I’ll be the honest one to say that a lot of Christians believe in their own views so strongly that they assume others who disagree are simply naive. This was shown not to be the case. In fact, those who differ from Christian views at today’s discussion were able to articulate their beliefs clearly and confidently. I think this surprised some of the church-going teens.

Apologetics is important! Apologetics (the practice of defending one’s faith logically) is a skill that every Christian should grow. If you truly believe your faith is the truth, as pretty much any Christian would confess, then you should be able to show how it makes sense to other people. Our young, Christian students gave this a stab with mixed results. Some were able to defend the Christian view well while others struggled to back up their points with logic or evidence. We will have to work on this 🙂

The focus needs to be Jesus. My role in the discussion was as moderator, so I never injected any of my own thoughts into the conversation (though at times I really wanted to!). What I found was that the Christian students missed a few key opportunities to bring the topic back to Jesus. His resurrection and teachings were not mentioned, although the Bible was referenced. I was waiting for a student to say something like “Our opinions don’t really matter, because none of us have ever experienced the afterlife. So let’s turn to the one person who has tasted death and came back – Jesus – to see what he had to say about it.” It didn’t happen, unfortunately, but that’s okay. I will have a chance to follow up with our students and help them see where they can improve.

The discussion rages on. The students really want to continue the conversation, so we will do it again next Thursday. I’m hoping to see an extra degree of thoughtfulness and some provoking questions. I’m glad that the conversation was respectful and no one stormed out of the room offended. So next week we’ll get back at it and see where it goes. Please pray for our young believers as they try to be faithful witnesses. It’s a tough gig and they are pretty new at it. But God can use anything to grow his Kingdom and open the eyes of the lost.

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