I have a decision to make...so I am going to think out loud here.
I am currently working with the Middle School Youth Group. I have a small group of 8th grade girls that I love. A while ago, our Youth Pastor asked me if I was planning to move up with my girls to the High School Youth Group or was I planning to stay with Middle School and take a new group of 6th grade girls.
Decisions...I'm not good at them.
Now, I know at this point that most of you are thinking this is a no-brainer. Most people run screaming from anything having to do with Middle School students, but I honestly like working with Middle School kids.
1. Middle School students are teachable. Even though they act like they know everything (especially to their parents), they really are open to learning new things. They are just coming to the point in their lives where they really think about serious stuff on their own and not just mimicking their parents. They are eager to know the truth about the Truth. If God can get a hold of their hearts now, they will become a force to be reckoned with.
2. Middle School students are squirrelly. They laugh at my terrible puns and feeble jokes. They make me laugh and remember what it was like to be a kid. They accept me just the way I am. They remind me not to take myself so seriously. 6th graders are way squirrellier (I just know that's a word) than 8th graders, so the giggles would be multiplied.
3. Middle School is tough. It was tough a hundred years ago when I was in Middle School. It is infinitely tougher now. Middle School is downright brutal. These kids deal with unbelievable pressure on a daily basis. If I can help them see clearly through the chaos, keep a big picture perspective, and make wise decisions, I will be truly serving them.
4. Because my hardest stage growing up was in Middle School, I have tremendous compassion on these students and I'm also a great resource for what not to do. Boy, do I have stories. ;-) I experienced all the normal pitfalls of early adolescence (zits, glasses, greasy hair, awkward, clumsy, etc.) I also experienced some much more serious issues that many of our kids are going through. I can relate to these kids.
5. Sugar will be a 6th grader next year. I would love to be her small group leader.
6. It will be easier for our Youth Pastor to find a volunteer to take the High School position.
Ah, but what about High School: Well, I like High School, too, for many of the same reasons.
1. High School students are also teachable. They ask tough questions, but if given a reasonable answer, they will truly think about the truth presented. I love the intellectual challenge that High School students bring to the table. My 8th grade girls are already asking the tough questions and thinking about deeper things. And I love, love, love them so much. I strongly desire to keep mentoring them. Their spiritual growth is something I want to stay involved with.
2. High School students are more mature. There is more time for serious discussion, which is really where my strength lies.
3. High School is tough. The pressures are more intense. The stakes are higher. The potential consequences harsher. Decisions that will affect the rest of their lives come at them without warning. I love to prepare students for the pitfalls that are out there. I love to share a more excellent way. God's plan is both reasonable and good. And when they've messed up, I am glad to show God's grace and His redemptive power, offering healing and forgiveness..
So, there you have it. It's ALL GOOD. It's a win/win for me. No matter which way I go, I'll be making a difference in the lives of young people.
Even as I'm writing my thoughts out, I think I know which way I'll go.
What do you think?
Blessings to you,
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