We have 7th-8th grade ministry only on Wednesday nights. Typically during the Bible Study time I get up and teach and try and have a discussion, but with 20-30 students, it turns into choas real quick. I would really like to do small groups on Wednesday nights, but for a number of reasons we have done it for a short time, and not continued it.
Last night we started a seven week series on Spiritual Basics and are doing it in small groups. I had one High School helper and 6 or 7 middle school guys, and we discussed what it means to have a relationship with Christ. It was a great night our group lasted probably 45 minutes and they asked me questions like, how can Jesus and God both be God and be different, or what about the people that never hear the gospel what happens to them, or how do I know if I have a good relationship with God.
These are the nights youth pastors live for. I firmly believe that most of this would have never came up, if we were all sitting in one big group, but because we sat together and talked, instead of me teaching at them, they were more open to discussing. Here is hoping that we can keep our small groups going.
I love Middle School students. They are so much fun, I use to find it much more difficult to minister to or be around them, but as I get older, I learn to love them more. High School students are great but you have to impress them and it better be good or they will never forget it. But with Middle School students I think they rather enjoy a what you see is what you get attitude. If I don’t act like I am trying to impress them, then they won’t feel like they are having to impress me. But what I find very difficult in ministering to Middle School students is the most basic part of Christianity i.e. explaining a relationship with God.
Now I know how to share Christ with someone and can explain how to have a relationship with God, but as I tried to explain this very abstract concept to a bunch of concrete thinking Middle Schoolers I felt as if I was trying to convince a wall to move. Dying, Heaven, and Hell are all concepts that are completely off probably 99.9% of middle schoolers radar. A relationship with God sounds very hokey or just plain strange to them. So what does this mean? Do I just try and hold on to them until they get to High School and might understand these concepts? I sure hope not.
I want our Middle School students to get it. I want them to be passionate about Jesus Christ in a way only Middle Schoolers can be. I don’t expect them to be perfect people that never fart and laugh about it in public. So I press forward loving Middle School students hoping that I can help them connect with Jesus Christ.