Tuesday, January 25, 2011

11-14 year olds hold my heart.

Junior high ministry...never be shocked, never be surprised, never argue, never ridicule, never blame...always understand.

this is something that a good friend of mine who does ministry alongside me wrote and i have never forgot it. let me just tell you a little bit about my history in junior high ministry.

i was that girl who was crazy and boy-obsessed and had to be the center of attention, who loved all the staff and the staff loved her. i had a great best friend...erin moffit....here's a little photo:

we were crazy and insane and totally in love with each other and the ministry we were involved in. i was blessed beyond words to have a great man named Mark South be my youth pastor. he was so passionate about the hearts of students and desired to see them grow and love jesus more fully with his whole heart. when erin and i were in 8th grade and moving on up to high school we both promised mark that we could come back and work on staff with him. little did i know that this promise would change my life.

this stage of my life was so great. i was able to watch different staff memebers come and go, i was able to watch Mark step down from this ministry as he heard God call him to Northern CA where he has now started a church called Origin Community Church. i was able to watch God build up a man named Jon that has now taken our ministry to a whole new level as the new junior high pastor.

erin and i did come back and worked together for 5 years. we were co-small group leaders and we able walk through life with two sets of girls. the first are now seniors and are gonna graduate this year:

this was actually our last sunday together in their 8th grade year
our next class are now sophomores and so beautiful and wonderful!
these are just a few of the lovely ladies :)

i cant begin to tell you how working in this ministry has altered my way of life. how is has taught me to love the un-lovable and seek Christ in a more intense way knowing that there are people who are following and watching my every more. they have made me love jesus more and love others more.

ministry isnt always easy either. its hard, you have to have hard conversations and call people out. you have to show love to the ones that everyone else thinks is a punk. you have to be jesus to them. those are hard shoes to fill. although i have had a connection with all of my girls that i've been graced with...there has always been one that has had a little more of my heart...her name is Celina Marie :)

her in junior high

her now.

she is such a beautiful person and i am better for knowing her. she's a too-cool-for-school high schooler now, but she isnt too cool for me :) when she hurts it tugs on my heart strings and when she is full of joy my heart does flips in my chest. she is an amazing woman and i am so glad that i know her.

i had worked in junior high for 4 years and was becoming burnt out. i was tired and seemed to be easily frustrated with the students. i decided i was done. i  had my time in junior high and now it was time to move on.

i went 1 year. at first it was nice. not having that responsibility over my head. but then my heart starting doing flip flops in my chest. i would hear about camps and mission trips and students lives changing and God just started to push my heart a little bit. over the year, it was apparent that he wanted me back in ministry. i begged jon to let me come back, and of course he said yes. the staff had changed, the students i knew were gone, and everything was different. at first i didnt like it, but then i saw how God was working through the changes that were made. i saw how Jon was seeking Christ in every decision on behalf of ministry and how we were becoming better.

then i found out who my new small groups girls were. 6th graders. i have never had 6th graders before. this is a new adventure. but I LOVE IT. they are fantastic. this one especially:

i am beyond lucky that God has called me to this ministry. these students are the most wonderful, crazy, insane, question filled, love/joy givers that i know. they are crazy and i love them.

i am so blessed.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post for obvious reasons :)

    First, I love that picture of us. It captures our ridiculousness and our love for each other quite well.

    We have so many fun memories doing ministry together. I think the #1 top moment was with a certain girl at your house sneaking a certain food that she was "allergic" to. HAHA! I am laughing so loud right now just picturing it.

    Love you and I miss partnering with you in this!

    P.S. I keep thinking of more memories. Remember Havasu? And taking the beatest pictures we could of students? And those boys that we made write down on paper their favorite qualities about us? Haha!