Book: Junior High Ministry by Wayne Rice (1987)
I reallyREALLYreally enjoyed reading this book. I’m still trying to figure out why Dave didn’t assign it as mandatory reading when I was first hired. Not that painting my office wasn’t fun, but yea…there’s a slew of great stuff in this book.
Here’s just a sampling of some things I highlighted:
On the importance of junior high ministry
This book reminded me over and over again on the development taking place between the ages of 11-15. These years are huge! What are we doing to help a student in the midst of one of the most unsettling times of his or her life?
[pg 19] :; It is not until adolescence that the individual begins to see himself as having a past and a future that are exclusively his.
[p21] :: For the junior higher, life is like a big jigsaw puzzle with a lot of the pieces missing. His job is to find all the pieces and put them into place.
On the timing of a junior high relationship with God
Page 29 had some great info on “repression,”
- Repression is a kid of adult amnesia. Repression is defined as the “rejection from consciousness of painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, and feelings.” To make life more endurable, the mind automatically tries to forget, or at least block from memory, painful past experiences.
- Those painful experiences are never lost completely from consciousness; they are just pushed back into the recesses of the mind and never recalled.
- What’s this have to do with us junior high workers? Simply that psychologists tell us that some of life’s most painful experiences have occurred to us during puberty, when we were junior highers. We’ve got to dig deep, and remember these experiences. The best way for you to identify with junior highers is to get in touch with your own early adolescent years.
“Puppy love is very real to puppies”
#1 concern for junior highers: “Do you like me?” [pg 32]
[pg 38] :: Junior highers need to be around people who demonstrate a positive attitude, who smile a lot, and who know how to have fun. You can’t be a “grouch” and be a very effective junior-high worker. You need to have a warm sense of humor. Those who approach junior-high ministry with an “army-sergeant” mentality won’t last very long.
Chapter 5 is excellent in laying out some of the social developments of junior high.
- The drive to independence and how it is bridged
Junior high ministry must be very personal. Relationship driven.
*awesome* [pg 118] :: …The irony of this is that often the people who consider junior highers to be so immature and irresponsible are the same people who entrust their most prized possessions- their babies- into the care and safekeeping of junior highers. Either junior highers ARE responsible, or adults are acting irresponsibly by leaving them alone with their babies. I chose the first option.
pp 122-124 has good insight on dealing with ‘problem students’
[pg 133] :: Junior highers have a faith that is “under construction”
[pg 137] :: We can help junior highers to know that god can and will use them just the way they are.
The need for models is one of the reasons junior highers are such super hero worshippers [pg 138]
The last 4 chapters have GREAT suggestions for programming, games, socials, activities and the like. It will be good to keep handy for reference.