This first (part of the) week has been crazy. I have spent a good amount of time in the office, partly I have to learn a lot and partly I live in the sticks and the church is in town. I have meet some parents. Like with all new jobs- crazy amount of information to take in process and there is no such thing as easing in; it is jumping in, feet first, into the deep end. There are lifeguards watching and edge to grab if it goes to crap, but the goal to stay in the pool…
The last couple of days I have started started planning Sr. and Jr. High bible studies- which is has been good and bad. Good because what I am going to be doing this first semester is something I have taught before, but it has been slowed down and broken up into smaller parts. For the Sr. High we are going through the book of James. As a student, I would have loved to had a bible study that was guided and mentored, this is I am seeking to do this for these guys. To provide a time for guys who want to dig and question their faith in a matter that pushes them to become stronger Christian. I wrote some reflections about James, especial trial and temptations which all people go through (found here.) The trouble with bible study for Sr. High students is the conflict with other extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government and homework.
For the Sr. Highers, I want this to challenge them outside of just the hour or so we meet in a week. This means that they are expected to read and journal about passage that is coming up and pray requests. It is meant to foster habits of opening the bible, to look back and recognize where God is working in their lives.
For the Jr High, there is a little different challenge. Attention spans are shorter, they are going through conformation and have associated homework. I desire to have a practical application and challenges for them- however, Jr. Highs can not always recognize these challenges and express themselves. This meeting time would be shorter, focused on topics that are applicable to middle school- key thing: prepared for the random and an spontaneous. Random I can do, spontaneous not as much, but I am getting better
Over the last few year I have been working with youth, I have found that I connect better with Sr. High opposed to Jr. High- Jr. Highers are hard to focus, they are just learning how to think abstractly and they rarely have a desire to go deeper than stories- this is not bad, but it presents a different challenge. Jr. High must start prepare students to go to Sr. High- this means learning ask questions, enteract with other students and to express their faith.
The goals for both Sr. and Jr. High are both the same. I want the students to understand what they believe, explain that to others and live their life in a way that reflects what they believe.