5. Start a lunch time prayer or Bible study at school
4. Bring extra gum to school
3. Stand up for the non-cool kids
1. Talk about Jesus and how he changed your life
At CHAOS, a junior high youth group, we shared a video with three college students telling stories on what they have learned about communication with their parents.
Mom and Dad, there is hope.
We’ve all had a time or ten when we got excited about opening up a Christmas present.
But have you ever had a reaction like this?
When it came to Christmas presents, I remember being jacked up about three gifts: Tecmo Super Bowl for Nintendo, NBA Jam for Sega, and a ping pong table. Not all in one year, of course, that would be waaay too much!
At CHAOS, a junior high ministry, we’re in the midst of a teaching series that addresses the excuses we use in daily life. Last week, Elliot Tensen tackled the excuse, “But I’m not good enough” and highlighted the fact that God has created us with unique gifts. Romans 12:6 reads, “In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”
What do you think the boy did with that Nintendo 64? Put it up on the shelf and admire it? No way! He played the daylight out of it putting it to maximum use, guaranteed.
God has given you gifts and talents to bring glory to Him and far too often these gifts have been simply placed on the shelf. I remember discovering the gift of communication that God gave me. That was exciting! But there was a time when, after discovering the gift, that I did not use it to serve the Lord in any manner. I put it on the shelf. I let it serve me. And that was a destructive path.
Two important things to acknowledge about gifts and talents are (1) God has given you gifts/talents and (2) He wants you to use your gifts/talents to glorify Him. When you acknowledge and live out these two truths about gifts and talents is when they begin to sing in harmony.
Question: What gifts/talents has God given you? Click here to comment.
Turn the swag off. During a meeting, the girls in small group were wacky and all over the place. To reel the students in, the small group leader declared, “Okay, you have got to turn your swag off.” Turn the swag off? Yep, and the term stuck! The small group leader even got a text from one of the students the day before the next meeting that read, “I am so excited to see you at CHAOS tomorrow and I will turn my swag off.” Classic
Laughter is fun. A parent shared that her daughter came home from CHAOS and exclaimed, “I love my teacher!” The daughter went on to share that their small group time was filled with laughter and sharing about their week. It is so good to create a fun and personal environment.
Speaking Spark. It just so happens that a boys small group was having trouble with constant interruption and side-conversations. So the leaders decided to bring a squishy ball to the meeting and declared it the Speaking Ball. If you have the ball, you can speak and if you don’t you don’t. It worked! A strategy like this can bring some good structure to a small group.
Super Sports. Some 7th grade girls were incredibly pumped up about seeing their small group leaders at their volleyball game. 7th volleyball games are played at 6 am! We cannot afford to underestimate the power of showing up to an event to cheer a student on. And getting out of bed to do it is an extra bonus.
Praise from Parents. A mom went out of her way to tell me that her son’s small group leaders were a positive influence in his life. She is thankful for the small group leaders and their efforts to encourage her son’s friend group as well. Being a parent of a teen can be a tough stage and when Mom and Dad know that there are positive influencers around it makes a big difference.
Junior high is a crucial time to receive support! Encourage a teenager today, there is no telling the difference it could make.
Question: Who was a someone that influenced you in junior high?
I got word that some cupcakes were being throw up the hallways after CHAOS last week. At first I thought, “I cannot believe our volunteers would do such a thing!” Then I was told that it wasn’t the volunteers that were throwing cupcakes, it was a group of students. I should have figured.
So I sought out a janitor and I said, “Hey, Mike! I heard you saw some students throwing cupcakes down the hall, is that right?”
Mike almost interrupted me with his reply, “Ya know, Ben, there were some guys throwing cupcakes but it’s no big deal. See, I know things like this will happen. We just don’t want it to get out of hand. These students just need to be loved on and when their behavior get out of line then we just gotta redirect it. If things didn’t get a little rowdy at times I would wonder if you were even doing your job.”
Wow. That was refreshing to hear. And I couldn’t have said it better myself.
After that conversation, I walked away thinking two things:
Is there a place for rules? Certainly. But I don’t want to recite the rules on a student at the expense of offering encouragement, grace, and understanding. I’m glad Mike sees it that way too.
Question: When was a time you were influenced by grace?