What you win people with is what you win them to

April 1, 2024


What we win people with is what we win them to 

“Some Clovis parents say a Christian group is trying to indoctrinate their children during lunchtime, lured to pray and talk about Jesus Christ by being offered free pizza.” So reads the first line in a campus ministry hit piece about our sister organization, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, by the Fresno Bee this March.(1)

There’s a lot going on in that article that is ‘much to do about nothing.’ It’s lunchtime, kids get to choose where they go, district policy allows visitors to participate at student’s request, students have the constitutional right to assemble to pray and preach, and, thank God, eat pizza.

In fact, the CUSD spokeswoman sums up the simple rebuttal in one sentence: “FCA is operating in accordance with the district’s student clubs policies.”

At the middle school and high school setting, student clubs are governed by the Equal Access Act (1984) and district policy.(2) There are many do’s and don’ts to follow including student leaders leading, the locations in which clubs can take place, supervision by a credentialed teacher-sponsor, etc, but none of that was the real point of the article.

The bone that the author really wanted to pick came out in four paragraphs calling FCA’s commitment to biblical teaching on gender and sexuality into question. That students have been affiliating with campus ministry for 50+ years isn’t the issue. That teens are asking for and receiving Christian mentorship during lunchtime isn’t the real issue. That FCA follows all the rules isn’t the issue. FCA’s commitment to a biblical sexual ethic was the author’s issue.

Campus ministry has already faced adversity in Clovis Unified at the elementary school level this year. Under pressure from fringe culture warriors wanting to launch ‘inclusive story hours’ the district decided to disallow all adult-run, after school clubs for elementary kids until after 6pm. Or in other words, until kids have gone home.

This decision kept the fringe away, but also kicked off FCA, Good News Club, and the Girl Scouts.(3) A better idea is to allow students to receive help for the clubs they want from legitimate 501(c)3 organizations and let the clubs compete for participation. I don’t think ‘inclusive story hour’ would last but it is still a win for the world if Christian organizations lose access.

Many folks are surprised that we are on campus in middle schools and high schools. Absolutely, we are! At more than 25 schools students are choosing to affiliate with Youth For Christ to share the love of God with their peers.

I want you to know what they tell every kid who comes to Campus Life: “Campus Life is for talking about life, talking about God, and having fun. All are welcome!” The affiliation with Youth For Christ brings resources, coaching, and curriculum to the club. In short, it’s better for everyone when more loving, caring adults are allowed to say ‘Yes’ to what students want for their clubs during lunch.

Food is love, so we absolutely bring pizza, noodles, or other treats. Not only does it show care, it functionally allows kids to maximize time in the club instead of having to spend a quarter of the lunch time waiting in a food line before coming.

It has been well said that “what you win people with is what you win people to.” At Youth For Christ kids are won to Christ-sharing relationships and the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. A kid may come for pizza, but they’ll only ever stay because they are attracted to the people and the message. In this way discipleship is the furthest thing from indoctrination: we raise up lifelong followers of Jesus only if students clearly understand and critically decide to follow the Jesus way. Faith comes through hearing and change comes through following (Romans 10:17, 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Uncritical acceptance, by contrast, is simply ineffective for life change and often dangerous. Indoctrination by media and secular culture is leading to stranger and stranger beliefs and behaviors (look no further than a growing list of gender identities confusing and even maiming kids). When you win people with confusion and lies you produce lives of confusion and lies. Jesus said it best: “you’ll know a tree by its fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20).

I wish the purported tolerance of the world would lead them to celebrate that Christian student leaders are growing in their leadership. I wish they could celebrate the Christian conviction of love that leads a kid to invite a friend to club. I wish they appreciated the thousands of kids each year that find hope, find purpose, and even friendship in the name of Jesus. After all, deciding to follow Jesus is the best choice anyone can make for their quality of life (John 10:10)!

The truth is that our opportunity to be on campus as visitors may not last forever. While kids have an unassailable right, adult visitors do not. What began with the effective ban on adults and organizational affiliations at the elementary level may work its way up to the middle school and high school levels.

Campuses could become closed to all visitors in the future. Our opportunity for a positive impact on campus is now. Help YFC, FCA and Young Life maximize it by speaking up in prayer, in volunteering, and in giving. Speak up in support of student leaders, of clubs, of sharing 2,000 years of Biblical truth and wisdom, and speak up for life change. Speak up because the gospel is the power of God into salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16).


For Every Kid,



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1. Read for free at https://www.aol.com/christian-group-luring-students-free-143038368.html

2. Concerning district policy, H. Spees, Executive Director of Youth For Christ at the time, served on the FUSD task force to create those rules in the wake of the Equal Access Act. 

3. https://sjvsun.com/education/cusd-board-bans-outside-clubs-until-evening-public-argues-about-transgender-policy/