Teenagers scare me.
It’s silly but true. As a preschool pastor and mom to young children, I’ve lived in this preschool/elementary phase for so long I feel awkward and culturally irrelevant when it comes to engaging with anyone between the ages of 13 and 19.
Now, I do remember what it was like to be a teenager and I do understand in a few short years (3 to be exact), I will be raising an adolescent of my own. But… this doesn’t make me anymore confident. Honestly, it wasn’t until earlier this year I began giving much thought to this idea. That’s when I made the connection between my ministry and my feelings.
Many of you already know our church is experiencing an amazing period of growth. This is no less true for our preschool ministry. Over the past six months we have averaged nearly 150 preschoolers on a weekly basis! On any given Sunday, there are between 40 to 60 leaders serving in the Treehouse and nearly half of those are student volunteers! That’s right… teenagers.
These students show up week after week to serve goldfish, wipe noses, and hug preschoolers. They read Bible stories, color, lead worship songs, and build block towers. They hold hands and touch hearts yet they are really still children themselves. And this is why I find them so scary… they truly understand what it means to serve. Love does is not just a quote they see hanging in the City Station lobby. For them, it is a call to action. Their desire to serve challenges me, my faith, my perspective, and my sense of security.
We expect adults to serve, but we don’t always expect it from teenagers. As disciple-makers we are missing the mark when we don’t encourage every member of the body to do their part.
If you have a teenager within your sphere of influence, I encourage you to think about how you can affirm their identity in Christ and help them mobilize their potential to do good in this world. How can you help them live out the value love does?