Four years ago, high school senior Adrian Sauceda came to University on a Wednesday night because his friend, Frank, invited him to play basketball. He had been to church before with his mom, but “it was never serious for me like it is here. I stayed for service once, and it just felt different.”
Reflecting on why he kept coming on Wednesdays, Adrian says the difference is in the way he is treated. “People actually, like, show themselves, that they care for you, you know?” So, he continued to attend Wednesday Night Live in Student Ministry for the next three years, and his heart and life changed with each encounter in the church.
While basketball was his original motivation to take part in Wednesday Night Live, Adrian soon joined a Sunday afternoon Resemble Group, an age and gender specific Bible Study. He now attends the High School Mission Trips, comes to open gym basketball on Tuesdays and has been an active member in one of our high school Church League Basketball teams for three years.
As Wednesday Night at University developed into an evening in which the church body became more present to our students, Adrian’s usual time in the church further blossomed into something new that God would use in his life. The time spent in a multigenerational setting at our family dinners made him feel like he had other people by his side. As a middle child, there have been many times when Adrian felt a little lost, but coming to church gave him community, a place to belong. Not only did he find friends in his age group, but new friends and adults who treat him with respect, love him and tell him the real things about life.
“You know I’m here from the end of school until 9:30pm every Wednesday now, right? You get to come here and be with the people you get to be with at school, and it’s kind of like inviting people over to your house.” This sense of belonging, knowing that the families with whom he and his friends are sharing this time with in play, meals, worship and Bible studies, has brought Adrian confidence in his church home. Having the presence of more diverse families, a broader spectrum of ages and seasoned veterans of life, invokes this new confidence in how Adrian feels loved each time he walks through the doors.
The love of Christ shown to Adrian at University is now a gift he chooses to share with those around him, especially to those younger than him. He presently serves as a student leader for our Wednesday Night Kids recreation time for 3rd-5th graders and also leads in our Student Ministry. Adrian enthusiastically invites middle school boys to be part of pick-up games on the court, is known to have a 6th grader or two sitting with him at dinner, and is always willing to stop a fast-paced game to listen to the little one tugging at the end of his shirt to ask to play.
Wednesday Night at University is so much more than a meal at five and Bible Study at six-thirty. Adrian Sauceda is Wednesday Night at University. The love he is shown here is Wednesday Night at University. The life change he is experiencing in this church, now four days a week, is Wednesday Night at University. The love Adrian chooses to show to those who look up to him is Wednesday Night at University.
While sitting with Adrian this week at Tuesday Night Open Gym, he was so honored and excited to share what this church means to him. Spinning a basketball on the finger of a little girl who just wanted to play with the big boys, is only one expression of his gratitude for the pivotal role University has played in his life.
If you have ever been on the fence about joining us for a Wednesday, just let Adrian’s final words speak God’s Word about His church to you: “It’s like a second home, coming here.”
Church Family, you are Wednesday Night at University.