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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo
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Weikel points local youth to Christ

Senior makes kingdom impact in high schools

In Matthew 28, Jesus commands his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations.” One Taylor student is helping local high school students fulfill that mission.

Senior Jake Weikel, a Christian ministries major from Westfield, Indiana, is working with Eastbrook High School’s chapter of Decision Point (formerly known as National School Project). This organization focuses on equipping high school students for evangelism.

As a lead coach, Weikel oversees Decision Point’s operations at Eastbrook. Part of this role involves mentoring eight Taylor students who have stepped up as high school coaches. These coaches meet with students on Sundays to plan meetings for Christian clubs at Eastbrook, discuss opportunities to share the gospel with other students and encourage them in their walk with Christ.

Looking for a change of pace after serving as a small group leader on Third East Wengatz, Weikel was introduced to Decision Point through senior Alli Beck. 

“(Beck) reached out and asked if we could talk over some coffee,” Weikel said. “She told me all about the ministry, and I decided to go ahead with it.”

Weikel believes the work he’s doing fits him like a glove. 

“I’m really passionate about youth ministry, especially high school, because I’m convinced of the idea that public high schools are the biggest mission field that there is in America,” he said.

His conviction is supported by data. According to a 2020 report from OneHope, 51% of American teens identify as Christian, but only 8% describe themselves as “committed Christians.” The same report states that 2 in 3 irreligious teens would consider attending church if invited.

That’s where Decision Point comes in.

“We've had students say in the past that Decision Point has helped them realize that their walk with Christ is more than just a Sunday thing,” Weikel said. “As a result of our ministry, (students are) more excited to talk to people that they don't know and … talk about their faith.”

However, students aren’t just talking about their faith, they’re acting on it. 

Weikel said that when someone makes the decision to receive Christ at one of Decision Point’s events throughout the year, the other students reach out and help them begin their walk with Christ, offering encouragement and helping them get connected with a church.

Weikel’s journey to being a lead coach wasn’t easy. Because his work is completely funded through donations, he had to spend much of this past summer raising money. He also had to balance his fundraising efforts with his ministry practicum and planning his wedding. At times, he even doubted his decision to take on such an endeavor.

But in all of the hardship, God was there. Weikel has seen the Lord’s faithfulness and provision throughout his time working in ministry.

“There (were) people that I didn't think were going to donate anything that were some of my top donors,” Weikel said. “That was really encouraging.”

One of Weikel’s goals for this year is to expand to other local high schools, including Blackford High School in Hartford City and Mississinewa High School in Gas City, as well as hosting more outreach events, such as meetings with pastors, altar calls and presentations from guest speakers. 

According to Weikel, Decision Point is looking to host one outreach event per year at Blackford and Mississinewa and two per year at Eastbrook.

Many students who are involved in Decision Point are also involved in Eastbrook’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) chapter. The two groups have collaborated to host Bible studies in the past, but Weikel would love to work with other organizations at Eastbrook and in Grant County. 

“Our main goal is evangelism,” Weikel said. “If another club … hears about us and wants to help us host an event, or if we can help them host an event, I’m open to working with ministries to do God’s work.”

Weikel mentioned several ways people can support Decision Point. He’s looking for students at local high schools who would be willing to work with the organization, as well as Taylor students who want to get involved as coaches.

At the end of the day, Weikel is grateful for the opportunity to serve as a part of Decision Point and the impact the students have had on his personal faith journey. 

“The Eastbrook kids are such an encouragement,” Weikel said. “I wish I was on fire for Christ as much as they are when I was in high school … I’m just crazy blessed.”

Because of the faithfulness of Weikel and his team in response to God’s call to local ministry, there are many Eastbrook students who could say the same thing.

Students who are interested in supporting or serving with Decision Point can contact Weikel by emailing him at jake_weikel@taylor.edu.