As we wrote in our last blog, it’s been a goal of the church to create a Bible class opportunity for the pre-teens in our church. The first time we – the youth group and leaders – met was a couple of weeks ago for a small period of time to explain the overall hope for the next several months as well as throw around some topic and outing ideas. And yesterday was the first “real” youth group class. Going into it, Will and I were admittedly a little nervous. We both have several friends who have degrees in Youth Ministry and therefore are equipped with lots of knowledge in this area, and we… Well, we don’t have degrees in Youth Ministry. We figured our first actual class would either be surprisingly wonderful filled with lots of thought and discussion, or not so surprisingly long and very silent. We decided if we could find a key topic in which all the teens could relate, then maybe our first class wouldn’t be altogether boring.
We decided on the topic of Friendship, or Freundschaft as it’s said in German. Many of us, when we remember our early teenage years, may shudder at the memories. Being a friend and having friends during the teen life stage can be difficult, even painful, and our pre-teens are already experiencing these trials right now. We wanted to join in with the parents of our church who are in the midst of helping their kids, our pre-teens, through this up-and-down time by helping to equip their kids with the tools they need to be a good friend even when it’s tempting to act the opposite; how to be a friend like Jesus and glorify God through the toughest and most unpleasant of trials.
So we’re looking to James (Jakobusbrief) for advice. Yesterday we began in James 1:1-18 as he opens his letter acknowledging the presence of trials and temptations. We thought this was an especially good place to start as a way to let our group see that we all have trials and temptations we go through, and we might even share the same ones. We wanted them to understand that no one of us has it all together or is better than the other. We hoped personal barriers would be lowered and stories would be shared. And here’s where I’m still not over yesterday: Those things happened. More stories than we could have asked for were shared willingly and with great detail. The questions we posed were answered with great wisdom and deep thought. The group spent a considerable amount of time helping each other out by offering up ideas and giving advice. Honestly, Will and I hardly needed to say anything because they basically taught the class themselves. We were in awe.
By the end of class, the group realized that they are each going through nearly the exact same trial. We didn’t even make it to the temptations part of the scripture because the group had so much to say on the subject of trials. We were absolutely blown away by the wisdom and hearts of this group, and we feel so lucky and blessed just be among these young people. If you’d like, join us as we read in James over the next several weeks. We don’t meet again for another 2 weeks, so you have 2 weeks to read and study James 1:1-18 along with us and the youth group. We always welcome your prayers, but if you’d like to be especially involved in this new and important endeavor, we would love for you to share any and everything God speaks to you as you learn along with our youth group. It’s important to us that you too feel connected to our pre-teens even from an ocean – or wherever you are – away, so if you have a prayer to pray over our group, or an “Aha!” moment in the midst of your scripture reading, or a relatable experience to share, please do so through email or commenting below. We will keep you all updated as we go from topic to topic and scripture to scripture.
You might have also seen that the youth group went bowling yesterday for their first youth group outing. They had so much fun together and bowled incredibly well. We’re hoping for a warm outdoor outing when April rolls around!
Thank you for your prayers over our youth. Christ is working and shining through them already!