There are a special group of people who volunteer their time with EDGE to be a coach. Coaches, or adult volunteers, are amazing gifts to the ministry because they generously use their time to encourage student missionaries and coach them through leadership skills, planning and organizing their EDGE Club, and praying over their schools. Ideally, an EDGE Coach is already connected to the students through the local church (so a youth leader, a youth pastor or a parent) and has the ability to build a relationship with the students in his/her EDGE Club that not only coaches them through leading EDGE, but disciples them and draws them closer to the Lord.
This past year at Centreville High School, one of our EDGE Coaches, Danielle Curtis, was blessed to be able to not only help the students as they led, but disciple two girls personally and see them grow closer to the Lord. She opened Scripture with them every week, challenged them in their walks with the Lord, and watched them step up to lead the EDGE Club for the 2019-2020 school year.
We sat down and talked with Danielle about how she not only saw students use EDGE Clubs as a way to help them reach the lost, but how she saw it make a difference in her own life.
Where did you coach EDGE? Anything unique that you want to share about this school?
I coached EDGE at Centreville High School. Centreville is extremely diverse and represents many people and cultures from around the world, making it an awesome mission field.
What drew you to EDGE Clubs and wanting to be a coach?
Originally when I got involved with EDGE, I was trying to gather students to launch a student ministry with my local church. I quickly realized that pushing another program on students wasn’t what they needed; they needed relationships. They were hungry for God and needed Godly people investing into them spiritually. Eventually, the previous coach asked if I would be interested in coaching at Centreville the following year, and I said yes!
How have you seen EDGE impact the lives of students at your school?
So many ways!
I have seen students become bolder in their faith and confidence in the Lord. I have walked with students as they learn to discern God’s calling in their lives, and had the honor of helping them chase after God-given dreams. One of my students recently got saved, and I have been able to disciple her and help her learn what walking with Jesus looks like. There is this idea in our culture that students are apathetic, and solely living for the next selfie or Instagram post, but that’s not true. Students are growing up in a world that expects more from them than ever, and they are constantly being targeted with harmful ideas. They are aware of the culture, and they are searching for answers. EDGE gives students a platform to share Jesus with their peers, and answer questions that they are already asking.
How have you been able to leverage EDGE to invest personally in students?
Coaching EDGE made it possible to disciple students that I never would have met otherwise! Only about half of the growth I saw in my students actually happened within the walls of a classroom. The other half was through studying the Bible together at Starbucks, late night calls from students having an existential crisis, and just learning to be generous with my time. But none of that would have happened without EDGE.
As an adult, how has EDGE changed your view of public school outreach?
Before I was invited to EDGE the first time, I don’t think I had even considered public school outreach as a possibility. When I realized there was a ministry that met within the walls of a public school, my mind was a little blown, especially in Fairfax County. I remember the first time I walked into a meeting and saw students worshiping the Lord boldly in a classroom, and I was amazed at how big our God is that He would provide a way for the students He loves to hear of Him. There are students at Centreville High School who have never heard the name of Jesus, and they would certainly never step foot in a church. But because of the faithfulness and trust of students, Jesus is being praised every week at that school and we can trust that the Lord is blessing our efforts.
How did EDGE impact your local church?
We actually have students who started attending our church through EDGE! But they don’t just come and fill seats, they are actively being discipled, serving, and being sent out on mission. They are passionate for the Lord, and because they’re students they don’t have the same fears and limitations that adults tend to have.
What would you say to youth leaders who are thinking about getting involved with EDGE?
Do it! But be ready to invest. Don’t expect to just show up for an hour and then leave. The Lord has given us this space, so we have to steward it well. Pray with your students, disciple them, worship with them, walk with them, make time for them. Be ready to see God work in ways you couldn’t even imagine. Let yourself be challenged, let your personal faith increase. God is utilizing EDGE in amazing ways, and we get to be a part of it.