09 August 2009

Ode to Middle Schoolers

I just got back from camp with our church's Middle School group. Now that I've caught up on some sleep and taken a good shower I wanted to share s little about it. We've been serving that group for the past three years now and it has been an amazing experience! Here's why:

1. It's fun!

Remember how much fun you had in your youth group? All the wacky games, hanging out with your friends, going to pool parties, playing broomball and going to camp, singing together? Well, I still get to do that pretty much every week!

2. They play an important role in the church.

If your church is like mine, middle schoolers play a HUGE role in the kid's Sunday School classes. They are willing servants and love to love your kids. And our kids love them right back and get to look up to them as role models.

3. Middle School volunteers are great people!

I love the kids, but the adults are pretty amazing, too. We've made some incredible friends through working with the youth that we would not have known otherwise. Anyone who can take part in a midnight pillow fight or pull a good prank (often involving bears) can't be all bad!

4. It's a great way to get to know people.

Not only do you get to know the middle schoolers, but their parents and siblings. If your church is on the larger side, this is an especially great way to connect with others.

5. It's amazing to watch them grow and mature.

A kid about to enter sixth grade is so different than a graduating eighth grader. It is great to see them become strong men and women of God. This is very often the time of their life when they take their faith as their own and start to get serious about God. It's great to watch that process and be a part of it!

6. Despite their reputation, middle schoolers are amazing!
Middle schoolers have a stigma that no other group in a church has to deal with. And to be honest, it's not completely undeserved. There are moments of drama, moodiness, conflict, and ingratitude, but there are so many more positive things that outweigh the negative. This week many of our kids got the faraway "bad cabins" with outside showers and bathrooms, but only a few times did I hear any complaints.

One of the girls in my cabin had a pretty stinky Monday. She was feeling homesick, and she lost all her money. After a good cry and a little prayer she was better, and that night when another girl was feeling homesick, she was first in line to comfort her.

7. There is a huge need!
Because of that stinkin' reputation, not too many adults are willing to commit their time to middle schoolers. And of course any parent is forbidden by their middle school child to participate in any activity. Ever. These kids need other adults besides parents and teachers to invest in them, spend time with them, guide them, and be their friend.

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