need input on 2 youth worker questions

first, kara powell, of fuller youth institute, is looking for “youth workers and/or youth ministries who are doing a good job helping kids think theologically and/or critically about games and exploring how games are shaping kids and/or kids’ faith.” she’s writing a chapter for a book and wants to interview some youth workers along these lines. if you fall into this category, and would like to interact with kara about it, please shoot me an email, and i’ll connect you with kara.

second, for the middle school ministry book that scott rubin and i are finishing up right now, there’s a chapter on middle school small groups. in that chapter, there’s an extended sidebar of 1-2 sentence responses from middle school small group leaders finishing this sentence: what i wish i knew about middle school small groups…

responses can be serious or funny. here are a handful of examples of what we have so far:

Bob: I wish I’d known that I wasn’t a failure if I had a day when I didn’t accomplish anything. Or that if I had one good interaction with one boy, that it could still be a successful day.

Heather: I wish I would have known just how much these junior high kids would affect my life and my own spiritual growth!

Carolyn: I wish I would have known that Junior High students will usually not express their appreciation for you as their Leader.

Chuck: I wish I’d have known that 6th grade boys can actually settle down and listen, when you connect with them and they know you are listening to them.

if you lead a middle school small group, we would love to consider adding your comment to that bit in the book. just post it as a comment here, within the next couple days (since our book deadline is monday!).

21 thoughts on “need input on 2 youth worker questions”

  1. i wish i had know that you only get 10 good minutes with middle school guys in a small group setting. it would have helped in my study/preparation greatly

  2. I wish I would have known that in the midst of being funny they were revealing the seriousness of what they were dealing with.

  3. i wish i would have known that all of their energy was actually a middle school form of worship. if david can get naked and dance in the streets, what’s wrong with my guys wrestling each other to the ground for 10 minutes a week. they may not have the language for it yet, but i think it is worship.

  4. What I wish I knew about middle school small groups is that any contact with them is a form of worship and impact. Relationships are messy and middle school students embrace messy more than any social group today.

  5. i wish i would have known that it’s the little things you don’t even try to do or remember doing that count the most– that they will come in the next week so much more open and comfortable and you won’t know why. that God is always faithful in helping those connections along even when you don’t know it.

  6. I wish I had known before hand that feeding a dozen jr high boys 50 bean burritos before bed would be a disaster!

    I spent several years focusing on the high school kids because I thought middle schoolers couldn’t go deep. I wish I had known that I was missing out on an incredible time with those younger kids – they are capable of so much more than I ever realized.

  7. I wish I had known that it is perfectly acceptable to say I don’t know to questions when I don’t. The middle schoolers value the honesty, and they can tell when you’re just making stuff up.

    I wish I had known that the games, random talk times, stories, and running around crazy while screaming is vitally important to building a community. If we’re meeting them where they are, doing what they want to be doing, then they are much more willing to try what I consider to be important.

  8. I wish I had known that while many times single gender groups are better, mixed gender small groups can be so enriching. The girls challenge the boys, and the boys bring a new energy and excitement. I haven’t seen the love and compassion in any other group.

  9. I wish someone older and wiser than me would have patted me on the back and said good job after I led a Wed night small group. Why did I always try to figure it out on my own?

  10. I wish I’d know that they would remember so much of what I did and said. Probably wouldn’t have done so many done things. Oh they have come back to haunt me 15 years later.

  11. I wish I had known that “I don’t know” is a perfect acceptable answer…and that “let’s figure it out together” is an even better answer!

  12. i wish i’d known it’s more about making memories than making points or finishing a lesson plan.

    i wish i would have known connecting with students outside the walls the rest of the week is more important than the time i spend with them “officially.”

  13. I wish I’d known… to keep the small groups in rooms far away from adults who are meeting for Bible study. We get in trouble for meeting too long & laughing too loud. I think they’re jealous.

    I wish I’d known… that no amount of training can prepare you for the shock & awe that is only found in middle school ministry. (Probably not book appropriate, but…a favorite moment: Female adult leader says, “My favorite part of ‘Prince Caspian’ was seeing how much “Susan” had grown up since the last movie.” A 7th grade boy responded, “Yeah! And they kept filming, like, you know, right there…” Seriously. Only middle school ministry could have a moment like that.)

  14. i wish i had known that giving middle school students a place to belong is more important than any single lesson i could sweat over planning.

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