This past weekend during our youth staff meeting we spent some time talking about what it looks for us as a student ministry to love and care about students. As an entire ministry, whether college-age, high school, or junior high, we all have a desire to love and care for students. Everything thing we do is centered around relationships with students. And we do this because we want students to be in a growing relationship with Jesus. During our meeting we spent some time talking specifically about what this looks like in the context of middle school ministry. Junior high students are obviously a unique age group and there are a couple of things that we should remember as we spend time trying to love and care for them.
Remember to be ready for anything
This is probably one of the reasons that some people have a hard time with middle school students; for myself it is one of the things I love most about my job. In middle school ministry we have to be ready for absolutely anything. This past week during our bible study discussions with a group of guys, we literally went from making fart noises and giggling at the word naked, to asking deep, serious theological questions. This is commonplace in middle school ministry; within moments a discussion can become serious or become something completely off-the-wall. When we spend any significant amount of time with students in this age group, we need to be ready for anything.
Remember this is all new.
We all know adolescence brings about all kinds of new experiences in the life of a middle school student. There are physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational changes. For a lot of us, the experiences and environments that we create for middle school students are brand new things. Students come on a trip and have never been away from home before. Student enter the youth room and are intimidated because they don't know people. Our ministries are another new thing and that's intimidating. Add that to all the other new things going on and it could get overwhelming quickly. We need to be aware of this in the lives of our students so that we can love and care about our students as they navigate through all this. Middle school students need adults that love and care about them during this time where everything is a new experience.
Photo Credit: turbojoe