I met Jay Reynolds at the Middle School Ministry Campference put on by the Youth Cartel. One of the great things about the conference was that it was a great opportunity to meet other people who love working with middle school age students. Jay is on the Middle School Ministry team at Hope Community Church. This post is the first in what will hoepfully be a series of Middle School Ministry Interviews.
Most people think it'd be crazy to work with middle school kids, why do you do it?
Many people ask me that question with the idea that I don't quite have it 'all' together for my choice of profession and ministry. I love hanging out with middle school students because they are fun and crazy, which is also my personality. It is the realm of awkward meeting truth, meeting adventure and freedom. What better age to begin to mold a generation than to work with middle schoolers?
If a middle school student left your ministry knowing one thing, what would it be?
I would want them to have a personal relationship with Christ and know what that means. It took me years beyond middle school for me to understand that. If they can grasp it during 6-8th grade, their life will be radically changed!
What are the top 3 favorite parts of your job?
3. Working with an amazing team of staff and volunteers to reach out to students! Loving leaders will filter down to leaders loving students.
2. Using my gifts of design (I'm an artist), teaching, encouraging, and missions. I get to utilize my gifts for God's glory.
1. I get to see God do things bigger than I could ever do. I love getting to see students finding leaders to pray as they come to know Christ, students getting dunked during a baptism night, and simply the look on a student's face when they "get it."
What's an average night at Hazardous look like?
Average. I hardly think Hazardous is average, but let me try to explain. Hazardous is crazy, exciting, fun slammed up with God for a whole night experience. It's an action packed night without a dull moment. We serve free pizza and let them hang out on the front end of the night to build relationships and get some food.
We kick off the evening service with a cover song of something heard on the radio to help build a bridge to students that don't go to church. After some throw-outs (candy, glow bracelets, and shirts), we jam out a little more with up-beat songs. Games are a huge part of Hazardous too; they get students involved and the gross factor is always important. We play 2 rounds of games, the first round is an "all in game" that includes everyone and the second is an "up-front game", which is where the gross stuff happens with a few people on stage. We transition into teaching worship - you can't expect students to worship if they are not taught. We teach through songs and through our message. Our teaching will always show aspects of the gospel.
What's been your favorite message/series at Hazardous?
Baggage. We finished this series last spring semester. Through the course of the series we challenged students to confront the baggage in their lives. At the end of the series, we had a night where we challenged students to grab a rock out of the bag, write their baggage on it and leave it behind. It was a powerful night and a great service.