On Tuesday night, September 22nd, something revitalizing happened in East Knoxville. At a small church just off the exit from the highway, a group of teenagers gathered around to not only enjoy each other’s companionship, but they also gathered to explore the Word of God as a whole. Walking onto the scene of KICKO’s “youth group” breakaway for middle and high schoolers, it is plain to see that something incredible is happening there.
At first, all seems chill and relaxed as teens play basketball outside and talk amongst one another in a lounge room; however, the mood and attitude of the night quickly changes when worship time starts. Director of the KICKO program, Michael Clark, is not only speaking a sermon for the night at the event, but he is also seen playing with the kids in a friendly round of basketball and catching up with the group on how their school day was. The environment is open and welcoming, and the children are just as friendly.
KICKO has around 30 to 40 kids every Tuesday night, most of which have been going to KICKO for years. KICKO’s Tuesday night event is centered on the Junior Staff that help out with the Sonday School program throughout the week.
They start off the night with games, and it then slowly transitions into worship, then the sermon, and ending with a stimulating prayer time. The teens are not afraid to open up at KICKO, and most share trials from their personal lives during the prayer time, which is something most teenagers nowadays do not do.
Ellie Roop, a Johnson University graduate, commented on the night by stating, “My husband and I love the kids here. We got hooked through Johnson University, and we just never stopped coming. After a while, the kids become loyal to you.”
KICKO’s Tuesday night “youth group” may seem loud and carefree to an outsider; but, there is a serious annotation that the night offers, and it reflects how broken some kids are and how a little time and love towards a child can go a long way.
For anyone interested in volunteering for KICKO, go online to kicko.org, click on Volunteer, and select one of the many Sonday School locations.