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Missouri Teen Starts Jesus Project at Local School

After attending the Southern Missouri Ministry Network youth camp last summer, middle school student Malakai Green felt burdened to bring Jesus to his fellow classmates.
While attending the Southern Missouri Youth Ministries camp in 2023, Malakai Green, now 13 years old, listened closely as camp speaker Brandon Cederblom, who was serving as the Southern Missouri Ministry Network’s youth director in Springfield, Missouri, shared about impacting his former school for Jesus.

As he sat through the service that Thursday night, Green began to feel God placing a desire on his heart to do something to impact his own school, Grain Valley Middle School South, for Christ. The event he dreamed of was no easy task. He knew it would require the permission of school officials and administrators, meticulous planning, and a boldness of faith.

When he returned to school later that year, Green got to work.

“I felt urged to get this done before the end of the school year because it was my last year in middle school,” he recalls.

So, with the help of four friends, including his twin sister, Malaina, the “Jesus Project” event began to take shape.

The first step was getting approval from the principals, which he obtained in just two weeks, followed by the recruitment of volunteers and planning the event schedule. It was not long before several of Green’s family members and teachers were involved.

“My teacher, Ms. Henson, was the event sponsor, my mom made a balloon arch and helped with decorations, my great grandpa, an AG pastor at Sheffield Family Life Center, donated 85 New Testament Bibles, and my grandmother provided drinks,” states Green.

Additionally, Malaina, a gifted musician, played the guitar and coordinated the worship set, his dad played the drums, one of his friend’s grandmothers donated pizza, his science teacher planned the evening’s game, and another teacher in the Science Department acted as the event’s D.J.

The free event attracted 120 middle school students who spent the night playing games, eating pizza, worshipping the Lord, and hearing about the love of Jesus from Green’s youth pastor, Wesley “Wes” Smith. The night ended with a time of prayer during which leaders and chaperones prayed over students who indicated that they needed prayer.

Smith, who serves at Blue Springs Assembly of God in Blue Springs, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City, has a youth group that is made up of over 60% middle school students. Smith co-leads the Wednesday night group of 57 students, 40 of whom are 8th grade or younger, with his wife, Sabra. The two have been in ministry together for over 12 years.

Smith says that Green has been an influence on the great dynamic they currently have.

“Kids are pumped to be there, we are seeing lots of growth, and Malakai is a kid that others follow. He has a natural ability to lead because of his charisma and his giftedness,” he states.

In regards to the event, Smith says that if there was ever a “proud youth pastor moment”, this was it; the whole thing made him “crazy proud”.

Green says that the highlight was “seeing all the different denominations coming together. It was amazing because that’s what Heaven is going to be like.”

Elizabeth Green, his mother and middle school teacher in the Grain Valley district, states that she and her husband were blown away at the leadership that Malakai took on himself.

“It was neat to see all of them come together and have a blast. One student even told me that it was the best night of her life,” she states. “The event really left an impact in the hallways for a few weeks, you could feel the difference. All the kids were wearing the Jesus Loves Me bracelets and some were even bringing the Bibles they had received to school.”

Next year, Green, who feels called into full-time youth ministry, wants to plan a similar event for the high school he will be attending. However, he hopes to pass the torch for the middle school event to another student who feels called to lead “Jesus Project” next year.

Green plans to attend Evangel University after he graduates high school and hopes to play basketball as he prepares for vocational ministry.

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.