Hobbs started off the meeting by walking around the room with another member on staff. Forty college students surrounded them.
Out of nowhere, he turned to one of the students and blew the whistle in their face. The screeching noise resounded in everyone’s ears.
His expression didn’t change as he continued to walk around the room.
“Are you guys ready for this?” he yelled, acting out the role of a head football coach. “Today, we’re not only going to train your bodies. We’re going to train your minds, we’re going to train your hearts and we’re going to train your souls!”
He called on everyone to stand up from their seats and do some stretches.
Hobbs is a football coach at Talawanda Middle School, but he wasn’t prepping for a game. He was prepping the forty college students for his talk about how they could do Christian ministry.
For 12 years, Hobbs has been the area director for Young Life, a Christian organization involved on Miami’s campus. His actual name is Brad Hoblitzell, but everyone in Young Life calls him Hobbs.
Last weekend, Hobbs and the other Young Life staff had their final meeting with the newest volunteer leaders. They’ve held these meetings nearly every Sunday evening since September of last year.
In between stretching and allowing everyone to goof around by playing funs games — a variation of rock, paper, scissors and stuffing multiple dum-dum suckers in their mouths — Hobbs spoke passionately to the new leaders about how to conduct clubs of their own and connect with the adults in the communities they were serving in.
Throughout his time as area director, Hobbs has trained hundreds of Miami students to be leaders for high schoolers, middle schoolers, kids with disabilities, teen moms and other college students. These leaders go out into the communities they are placed in and build relationships with others, their ultimate goal being to share the message of Jesus Christ.
“I think it’s important work,” Hobbs said. “I think adolescents today are surrounded by all kinds of pressures and negative things. For us to be able to come alongside adolescents with positive role-models and friendships is an encouraging thing.
It was his last time meeting with these particular leaders as a whole, and even though he’ll no longer stand in front of them giving them advice and guidance in their ministry, Hobbs will continue to meet with them and be involved in their lives.
“I’ve seen lives changed,” Hobbs said. “I’ve seen families changed. My life has been changed.”