Last night LIFE began again. No, I am not being deep, nor philosophical in any way. LIFE is what we call our confirmation program for 7th and 8th graders. Teaching kids of this age range is always… um… interesting.
When I graduated from college in addition to my major I also had competed everything needed to be a teacher, I even applied and got my teaching licence from the state of Minnesota. I could teach Social Studies in grades 6-12. Never got a full time teaching gig though, as most schools were looking for a football coach, and quite frankly, that was never my idea of a good time, nor part of my skill set. I also knew from my student teaching experience that I never wanted to teach Jr. High, those kids are um…interesting.
So, as time went by, God in his wisdom and what I have come to know as an immaculate sense of humor, chose to call me to be a pastor. Part of this calling as general practice would have it, meant that I would have to teach confirmation to, well, yes, to Jr. High kids.
As a pastor, my deepest wish is that these kids grow in faith, make a connection to the living God that will bless them and in turn they too will be a blessing. But the mind and social atmosphere of Jr. High is… interesting! I have taken training in several different types of confirmation instruction. They all promise the moon, they tell you touching stories of students who experience deep and profound faith development. You come out of these things going “wow!”
Then you implement them, and find that you are still teaching Jr. High kids, which of course are…interesting. The social norms, the hormones, and the varying levels of social, physiological, and spiritual development are staggering! In this group of kids there is a young lady who has already developed a pretty deep devotional life, she knows the basic stories of faith by heart, but struggles with popularity issues. Then there is the young man who just that morning struggled with putting the right appendage trough the proper opening in his t-shirt that morning. He has yet to figure out why showering more than once a week is important, and church and faith, well, mom says he has to go so he does. Spin variations of those themes amidst the 36 kids we have in this years herd and that is what I have to work with each week.
Depth, is not something we always achieve, content is not always comprehended, and discipline for discipleship, well, these are Jr. High kids meeting at church on a Wednesday evening after being in school all day, someday’s it is a miracle that they can focus at all!
Amid this, I have to remember, I am just a farmer. I plant seeds.
“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”- 1 Corinthians 3:5-7
Thanks be to God!