Focus more on middle schoolers...
I’m a middle school pastor! I get to interact and walk along side students who are in 6th - 9th grade. It’s really is great. Yea, it has it’s challenges but man, i don’t think there is a more important age specific ministry in the church. I was listening to NPR today and they were talking about education reform and specifically about high school drop outs and productive economic contributors in our world. The revolutionary idea that all these really smart people came up with to decrees high school drop out rates and to increase the healthy adult participation in the economy and culture was... wait for it... focus more on middle schoolers.
I think it’s really cool when sociologists and economists come to the same conclusion as the church. It’s even better when the church is ahead of the curve but lets be honest, most of the time we are not. I’ve been reading some books like Not Much Just Chillen and listening in on these kinds of conversations. I think these kinds of conversations should be really encouraging to middle school youth workers. We relevant and on the right track!
Some of things they were talking about on the radio programs where trying to provide a positive interaction, often on a mentoring basic for each middle school student. YES! As i have worked over the last few months to recruit and train adult volunteers this is the vision. Students need that positive influence other than their parents. This translates perfectly into our discipleship efforts and is really something we are already trying to do in a lot of ways.
They also talked a lot of about retention essentially. The way we keeps kids from dropping out of high school or from failing to be productive adults is by really investing in middle schoolers. LOVE IT. Well in the church we talk about the same things. Our students are falling off the radar left and right. Some in high school but when it comes to college students you might think the rapture had already happened because they are no where to be found in our churches. Hint, go to the friday night party, they haven’t been taken up in the clouds, they’ve been wandered into the pit.
All this to say that i continue to believe in middle school ministry and think that the church has to continue to invest and believe in middle schoolers.
All this and i didn’t even have time to go into all the developmental reasons why middle school is key in the discipleship of a student.
Grace and peace