Being a Christian doesn't have to mean planting yourself in a church
pew and singing age-old hymns.
These four college students -- they're hip and have the look of a boy
band -- are as funny as stand-ups and passionate like pastors.
Jeff Hanson, 20, wants to one day minister to youth. Shawn York, 23,
is a music major and hopes to direct high school choirs. Brandon Tyra,
20, wants a career in cinematography. Tim Larson, 19, is headed for
But for now, as Vanguard University's Delivery Boys for 2001-2002,
they share one most pressing job: to deliver the gospel up and down the
West Coast, promote the university and entertain teens as Christian role
"In this age of decision-making, it's possible to be a Christian
because being Christian doesn't mean being a nerd," York said. "You can
be funny and cool and live your life for God."
A public-relations team that visits youth camps, the Delivery Boys are
an 11-year tradition at Vanguard and are selected every year, as are
their female counterparts, called Entourage. Hanson is this year's only
returning member to the Delivery Boys, as most team members start brand
The four Christian guys were chosen in February from a pool of 25
students and are currently training for 12 summer weeks of traveling and
ministering at youth camps along the West Coast. So far, the program
includes skits -- most of them with a Christian message and some randomly
humorous ones to loosen up the crowd -- comical props, including wigs,
and the skill of counseling.
During the school year, the Boys will visit nearby churches and
schools to deliver their usual goods. Their target audience is students
in junior high and high schools, said Rina Campbell, director of Youth
Ministry Relations for Vanguard.
"This is the age where the majority of people make decisions in their
lives," Hanson said. "It's the most influential age."
He knows this firsthand. As a 7th-grader in Tucson, Ariz., he saw a
team of Delivery Boys perform at a youth camp he was attending.
"I wanted to be one," he remembers, which helped him end up where he
The team is noticeably excited about its summer ahead. It'll be the
"ultimate road trip," as Hanson puts it -- fast food, days and nights
crammed together whether they like it or not and, of course, the mission
of teaching others about Christianity.
"It's a life-changing experience," York said, "Of touching kids' lives
and delivering the gospel through humor."
This is an important tool, Tyra agreed. One that eases kids into the
subject of religion and their emotions.
"It's key to find a way to relate to kids somehow," Tyra said.
The group admits they're still trying to get to know each other. But
with plenty of miles and time on their road ahead, members are assured
they'll deliver what's promised with grace.
"I'm nervous, but excited," Larson said.
"We're four laid-back personalities," York added. "I think we've got a
pretty good blend."