Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Changing World...2012 Here We Come?

It is that week again.  The one in between Christmas and New Years, where we quickly flip the switch from Christmas specials to Year in Reviews shows.  My email box has already began to fill with every organization both secular and sacred giving me their thoughts on 2011.   Some are up-beat and fun, others are somewhat sad.  Along with the rewinds there is also the fast forward of 2012.  There are already predictions about how this new year is going to go.

Here is my prediction the world is going to change.  Just like it has for thousands of years.  Things are going to continue to grow different including MS/JH ministry.  Honestly, as scary as it is, so will you as a MS/JH leaders.  However it will not mean that you have to start dumping every idea and vision you have for your students.  Your focus needs to remain the same as it always has.  Do not get distracted by the newest gadget or the next set of statistics. What your students need in a changing world is the unchanging God, His Word...obviously (otherwise we are in the wrong ministry), and you.

Here are 5 thoughts about facing 2012 in your Middle School/Jr. High world:
1.) The Truth is still the truth.  No matter what it is on: paper, a screen, or scribbled on a post-it note stuck to a locker at the local school God's Word is still living, active, and powerful. Read it, not just study it for your next lesson, really stop your ministry mind and just read it for yourself.  Before it be used as a tool in your ministry it needs to be used as a tool to work on you.

2.) Relationship and Connection are still important.  Despite the newest "I-thing" your students have just got, they still need and desire a relationship and connection with you, other adults...and of course God.  We are created for interaction and connection.  Yes, some of that can now be done electronically, but don't miss out on real sharing, talking, and relationships.

3.) Time is still measured by clocks. It may not seem like it sometimes, but time is still the same.  I am not going to debate physics or string theory.  Time is still measured the same as it always as been, so use it well.  Take time and protect your time with God and your family.  Use the time you have in your ministry week to the best of your ability to maximize its impact.  Use the device and the books in your office don't let them use you.  Put away the stuff and go spend time physically with your students (*see #2)

4.) Service is still done with 2 hands.  You can try to do a variety of things through the power of multitasking.  You can talk and read as much as you want about the needs of the world, but at the end of the day serving and work is done with the 2 physical hand God has given you, your leaders, and your students.  You can't change the world as much as think simply by fundraising, making emotional videos, or even teaching a lesson, you have to go get your both of your hands dirty doing for others.

5.) Fun is still Fun.   Let's be real we work with 6th,7th, and 8th graders.  We can use fancy words, go to hip conferences, debate theology, but fun is still defined the "amusement, enjoyment, pleasure, and joking". We work with students that need to laugh as hard, as they study.  We need to lighten up- laugh at ourselves and life a bit. The forms may have changed a bit from an up-front skit to a video but MS/JH humor has remained the same.  Students want and need to have fun, that is never going to change.

    So we can ponder what 2012 is going to bring, we can reflect on 2011 but don't forget what you have been called and have the privileged to do. You get to live life with a bunch of wild, wide-eyed and wonderful students that have to live in a changing world this year, but can back to the unchanging God and the truth lived out through you and your ministry.