Students typically return home from camps or conferences with new friends, possibly a souvenir t-shirt, and likely a few scrapes and insect bites. Great memories are made, but not usually anything with a lasting impact. Enter Xavier Adekunle. Xavier is not your typical high school student and he learned in the summer of 2017 that Momentum Youth Conference is not your typical “summer camp experience.”
Xavier first attended Momentum Youth Conference in 2017 as he was entering his freshman year of high school. He was disappointed to miss out in the summer of 2018 but returned in 2019 eager to soak up everything he could that week. One of the main stage speakers that year was a representative from an organization called The National School Project. The session intrigued Xavier, so he furthered the conversation by attending an optional PowerTrack training session led by NSP. At this session, Xavier was introduced to “Meant for More”— a nationwide movement of Christian students sharing Jesus with other students in their schools.
That fall, Xavier returned to Green High School and his hometown in the greater Akron, OH area with a strong desire to reach his peers for Jesus. His message was simple— his fellow students were meant for more than depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. They’re meant for a relationship with Jesus! He was the co-president of the Fellowship of Christian Students at his school, so he already had the perfect platform for this new direction. During his freshman year, his group would average around 15 students. When Xavier took over his sophomore year, the group saw over 80 members with the club’s reshaped vision and goals. They held their first Meant for More event and over 170 students attended and several responded with an interest in a relationship with Jesus.
Unfortunately, COVID shutdowns came just a week following the group’s Meant for More event. Following up on all the decisions proved to be difficult. Thankfully this year, the group creatively launched a COVID-friendly event and had over 150 in attendance.
Ten students showed interest in starting a first-time relationship with Jesus. Several other committed to spending more time in the Word and wanted accountability. One student, in particular, rededicated his life to Christ and Xavier invited him to church and the two have continued their relationship. He recently shared he is interested in being baptized and plans to attend Momentum On The Road this summer!
The story doesn’t end there. Fueled with the success of his school’s Meant for More movement, Xavier has helped other students launch similar programs and events in their own local schools. When Xavier organized his first Meant for More event, it was the first public high school in Ohio to host such an event. Xavier has since joined the staff at NSP and spends his free time speaking at events and mentoring other students with similar hearts for their local schools.
Xavier graduated this spring from Green High School, but he leaves behind an amazing legacy of students reaching their peers for Christ. This summer he’s excited to be spending a week at the Urban Center in Philadelphia—a ministry he has frequented many times and has been impactful in his future ministry plans. He will attend the Grace College Akron Program this fall, while interning for Grace Church Barberton Campus and continuing his involvement with National School Project.
Our staff, like many others, have experienced the burnout that COVID has brought to ministry. The constant change of plans, canceled plans, and lack of gathering with others can take a toll. Then we hear stories like Xavier’s, and we are reminded why we were called to this role in the first place. Momentum Youth Conference is more than just providing a fun summer experience for students. It is a catalyst to challenge students in their walk with God and return home with more than a souvenir, but with the knowledge that they are meant for more.