People ask me that question many times. They wonder what is so special about that age group. They ask:
“Wouldn’t you rather teach Sr. High?”
“Is this just a stepping stone to other more prestigious ministries?”
I’m not sure where this sentiment comes from. Frankly I can’t understand why this age group is such a black sheep to some people within ministry. I personally saw a gold mine there. Most psychologists agree that this pre-teen, or “tweener” period is when most kids form the identity and characteristics that will shape their entire life. They are leaving the innocence of childhood but they are not quite mature enough to understand the realities of life. They are in-between, and therefore have a very moldable mind and thirst for knowledge.
This is where we as Jr. High leaders can step in. We can teach them the foundations of the Bible and what it has to say about life so they can hopefully form a biblical worldview. Teachers can show them the importance of regular worship, quiet time, and Godly morals. It is where likeminded tweens can fellowship with each other without fear or intimidation, enjoying the coolness of sharing the same faith.
I love everything about Jr. High ministry. I love the challenges, the attitudes, and most of all the personalities. Their love for God spurs me on in my own faith, and I’m challenged weekly to get kids who seemingly have everything this world has to offer to care about Jesus. It is no doubt at times a difficult endeavor. There are some days where I literally feel like giving up. Still there are other days where the pride and compassion for these kids well up so much in my heart I literally feel like weeping tears of joy. It is that moment where it finally clicks, when young people realize that they need nothing but Jesus and that He is all that sustains them, which is when I feel the most joy.
For I know that young people on fire for God can cause much disruption in the spiritual realm. Imagine the youth of a nation, united in prayer and supplication for a generation that needs Him. It is a dream of mine, and I know that is the goal of all people that work in ministry, even one as quirky as Jr. High. Bottom line, I want to see Jr. High kids going to heaven by the truckload. I’m dead serious about that. In addition I yearn to see the kids under my teaching get sold out for Christ. I want to get them to see that even though this world is against all that we believe in, it shouldn’t bring us down. Ultimately we have victory in Jesus, and that no matter what is thrown our way we can overcome.
So the next time you see me and my team doing something with Jr. High kids, don’t just keep walking. Say a prayer for us. Understand that what we are doing has huge ramifications on the kingdom of God. Yes, there are many times where I’m taking a pie to my face, or eating an enormous amount of hot dogs to win a silly contest. We, as youth ministers, must “become all things to all men, so that some may be saved”. There are many times when the balance of full time job, ministry, school, and family life are just too much to bear. But we press on, knowing that the prize we desire is young people knowing the Lord, and living for Him. There is no greater joy to be had, then when a young person gives their life to Jesus. It makes the struggles we go through miniscule and insignificant, and it is why I do Jr. High ministry. The Holy Spirit has made them my mission field, and I embrace it with conviction and fervor.
Jr. High Ministries