TEC has changed my life. Yes I know, one weekend out of 18 years changes my entire life? It can be hard to comprehend, but I guess you’ll just have to experience TEC for yourself. If you have a pulse (read “human” and “sinner”) your life will never be the same after experiencing TEC.
TEC has a long history. Teens Encountering Christ, or more commonly known as TEC, has been going on for 15 years. There are four TEC’s each year and each one rotates between four different churches. January 23-25, 2015 was TEC #59. It took place at Calvary CRC on Byron Center Avenue near 36th Street. I was a candidate at TEC #58 with my good friend Daniel Buffham in October of 2014. I don’t mean to brag, but I was blessed with the opportunity to be a Student Table Leader (commonly called a STL) at TEC #59. It is almost unheard of for a first time worker to go immediately to such a high position. Many of the kids I worked with at TEC #59 had worked many before, some people even more than 10!I’m not sure why God chose me for that role, but I’m sure glad he did.
Being a STL sounded daunting at first. First-time workers never get thrust into such a position of leadership. But whatever the reason (perhaps because I am a Senior and only have two possible TEC’s I can still work), I am so grateful to God and the TEC Board for giving me such an amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful to the Overall Rectora of 59, Miah Grassmid, who was my STL for 58, for the amazing job she did leading my group when I was a candidate. Although we didn’t open up as much as I’m sure you and Jack wished we would of, you did an incredible job. Miah, you are one of the main reasons I wanted to come back and be a STL. But enough of the gushy stuff. Because I was a STL, I was able to pick our (me and my Adult Table Leader [ATL], Cindy Schreer) table theme. Obviously I chose basketball. No brainer, right? Leading up to the weekend I found various basketball goodies to put on our table. 59 was fast approaching.
The weekend finally arrived. We got to the church on Thursday night to set up and be commissioned. As the candidates started arriving on Friday morning, I sensed this weekend was going to be special. Cindy and I were all decked out, me in my basketball uniform and warmup and her in a referee jersey she found online. Once all the candidates arrived, we got into our table group and proceeded to get to know each other. Our table had an assortment of boys and girls of all grades and schools. They were all a little shy at first, just like I was when I first witnessed the crazyness of TEC. But one person in our group seemed especially held-back. To protect their identity, this person will be called Shane. Shane obviously had something going on in their life. As the weekend went on and the surprises happened (you’ll have to witness it to understand), the candidates began to open up more and feel comfortable around each other and us leaders. Shane still seemed to feel uncomfortable in the activities and discussion times. We began to pray extra hard for Shane that God would tear down the walls in their life.
Friday ended and we met with our prayer partners to pray for all the candidates and especially Shane. We woke up Saturday morning not knowing what to expect. But immediately after the first talk on Saturday morning Shane got right up and gave the speaker a hug and began to open up in our discussion time. During lunch, Shane talked with one of the workers they knew from before TEC and next thing you knew it was an avalanche of prayers and tears. After lunch there was another talk and during the discussion time Shane shared some of the hurt in their past life. Afterwards Shane was seen with shoulders back and a smile on their face. It was as if a giant weight had been lifted off their shoulders. From seeing Shane on Friday and again on Sunday you wouldn’t think it was the same person. God had done a massive work in Shane’s life and they would never be the same again. I am continually amazed at how great our God is. He never ceases to amaze me.
The impact of being a STL at 59 was monumental for me. I was able to share my story and witness God’s amazing reconciling power. I saw every one of our candidates transform from being held-back and withdrawn to being open and outgoing. God grew my leadership ability and confidence in myself. I couldn’t of asked for a more amazing, on-fleek (a term we both learned over the weekend), and godly ATL. Cindy Shreer never gave up on our candidates and on me. Seeing as it was both our first times leading a table group, I’d say we didn’t do half bad. Every adult, team rector and rectora, and worker did an incredible job. God was glorified in everything that went on. Sadly, I’m not able to share more of what goes on during a TEC weekend, but that is what makes it such a remarkable weekend. It’s one big mystery adventure, as it has been described to me.
By the grace of God, I can confidently say that every one of both the candidates and workers lives were changed during TEC #59. I know mine was. S/O to Cassidy Baker and Daniel Buffham for inviting me to TEC #58, Miah Grassmid for giving me an exceptional example of a STL, Cindy Shreer for being my amazing ATL, and God for giving me the courage and words to be able to lead such an inspiring group of kids. I couldn’t of done it without Him.