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YEC 21-day challenge gets Klepac out of comfort zonecomment (0)

August 19, 2010

By Kristen Padilla

Getting out of her comfort zone is something 17-year-old Lauren Klepac struggles with. So when she accepted a 21-day challenge at the end of the July Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) at Samford University in Birmingham, it was “a big deal,” she said.

“For the past year, I’ve been seriously praying God would get me out of my comfort zone and be bold, and the 21-day challenge definitely did that for me. And I gained more confidence from doing the challenges.”

The challenge exercise, a new twist to this year’s YEC, was designed to build on the conference and encourage students to reach their communities with the gospel.

“There was a sense of leading from God that we needed to do more to help from this point — not to do a great two-day event but to help take the two-day even home and to take the two-day event to the net level of its impact,” said Kyle Wiltshire, an associate in the office of collegiate and student ministries at the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

But why 21 days?

“There are some studies that show that if you do something for 21 days, it will create a habit,” he added.

Klepac, an active youth group member at Eastmont Baptist Church, Montgomery, not only took the challenge but also created a blog — an online journal — so she could update everyone on her progress.

She began each day by reading that day’s challenge and then coming up with a plan to meet it.

Her first challenge entailed going to her church and prayer walking around the building, specifically praying for God to break down any spiritual walls within the church, such as bitterness and cliques.

“I feel that this task may seem small and minute compared to some of the other tasks to come, but in reality it is one of the most important,” Klepac wrote on her blog. “Not many people realize that the church as a whole needs huge amounts of prayer in order to function properly.”

By day two, she faced her first “interference” in completing a challenge. She had her wisdom teeth removed.
But Klepac adapted.

“Today I was unable to complete the challenge due to the fact that I got my wisdom teeth removed this morning, so I’ve been at home recovering all day,” she wrote. “However, I’ll be going to church Wednesday night this week for regular service, and I’m going to make an effort to get there early to prayer walk before church starts.”

Klepac adapted other challenges to life situations and to her own circumstances.

For example, the challenge for day five called for inviting a non-Christian friend to play a game either online or in person. Because she doesn’t play video or board games, she “tweaked” the challenge and instead spoke with a friend over Skype, a voice and video call made over the Internet.

After she completed the 21-day exercise, Klepac realized that whether the challenge was prayer walking around school, inviting someone to lunch or coffee or donating time or money to church or charity, the underlying purpose was “doing something out of love for someone,” she said.

“You never know what’s going on in other people’s lives,” Klepac said. “You kind of get caught up in yourself and your own problems, and I think the big thing … was loving other people and getting more personal with other people you wouldn’t expect.

She wrote on her blog, “Looking back on the 21-day challenge as a whole, I feel that God used me and taught me a great deal of things. One of the most important things that I learned is that even the simplest of things can have an impact on someone’s life.

“Something as small as donating a pack of pencils, buying someone lunch or playing a video game with someone can touch them in a way they may have never felt before,” she continued. “God isn’t vague in His message in the Bible — He calls Christians to a higher standard and to be witnesses for Him all over the world. But one other thing that He also calls us to do that is often looked over as being insignificant is to love others.”

To view a video related to this story, visit the video library.

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