News Articles

Students worldwide prepare for ‘See You at the Pole’

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–Hundreds of thousands — possibly millions — of teenagers worldwide will gather at school flagpoles once again Sept. 17 for “See You At The Pole.” The annual student-led prayer effort has served both to mobilize student prayer efforts and bolster the organization of Christian clubs on campus.
See You at the Pole began in 1990 as an emphasis of the Texas Baptist Convention. More than 45,000 participated the first year, and in 1991 the effort gained the support of a broad range of evangelical organizations in the United States and other countries. It is held annually on the third Wednesday of September.
Dean Finley, a student evangelism associate for the North American Mission Board who helps coordinate the event among Southern Baptists, said pollster George Barna estimated more than 1 million participants several years ago in the U.S. Another estimate put the total at 2.5 million in 1995, with indications of continued growth last year.
Finley is asking leaders this year to file reports on a Internet-based form as soon as possible after the event through a web site sponsored by his office (www.syatp.org). Updates will be posted on the site every two hours on Sept. 17, including both numbers and anecdotal information. The idea, Finley said, is for information to be immediately available for Wednesday night prayer meeting reports and other purposes. Last year more than 100,000 participants were reported on the NAMB site in the first year of Internet-based reporting.
Finley said the See You at the Pole effort has served not only to mobilize efforts of young people interceding on behalf of their generation, but also to spur the growth of campus Bible clubs. NAMB offers materials and information on helping students organize M-pact clubs, essentially a service club with a Christian flare.
“It has really made an impact,” Finley said. “… We have well over 5,000 Christian clubs that are on a database on the Internet.”
Even without organizational sponsorship, the simple nature of the event has made it easy for Christian students to participate — not even knowing if anybody else will come. In some cases, reports indicate only two people met for prayer. In others, as many as 1,000 students have attended.
“And it’s a place for people to make a contact,” Finley said. “Many times people don’t know who’ll show up, and it’s been interesting over the years to see people say, ‘Gosh, I didn’t know this many (Christian) people were here’.”
The NAMB-sponsored Internet site, at www.syatp.org, also serves as a source of information for organizing and promoting the event. Another national web site devoted to the event with a similar name, www.syatp.com, also provides information and promotional materials.

    About the Author

  • James Dotson