Wow–it’s been a long time since I posted! That’s not because I didn’t have anything to say, it’s just that I’ve been kept very busy with life. I’m still doing online classes full-time, homeschooling our kids (in a decidedly unschooling fashion), coordinating the children’s ministry, and trying not to go insane. That last bit is the hardest part. 😉
We are still collaborating with that other local church for youth group, though the format has changed. When we started, we were meeting as a large group every time (middle school at one time, high school at another). Now we have split up the teens by gender and age–middle school girls, middle school guys, high school girls, high school guys. Each of these groups meets in their own discipleship group which is facilitated by one or two adult leaders. It’s the same leader(s) and teens meeting each week. Each group also gets to pick what they want to study, within reason. We’re not going off the deep end, y’know? In addition to our small discipleship groups, we meet as a large group (all ages and genders) twice per month. One night is a fun night where we do something like bowling or play games. The other night is a large group night–what you would think of as a typical youth group service. Large group involves music, a game, an icebreaker, snack, and some kind of video/testimony/message.
What can I say, except that it’s been extremely interesting thus far. I facilitate the high school girls’ discipleship group in my home and I love it! (((But it’s also a huge challenge.))) I’ve never had to parent a teen, so I’m sure that is where some of the challenge comes from. I am more like their indulgent auntie. Fun, but they don’t always want to listen to me. Couple that with the fact that I have a couple of girls who goof off quite often, and a couple of more serious girls–well, you can imagine. Still, I’m glad to be able to build into their lives. Only one of the girls is from my church; one is from the church we are collaborating with; two of them are not affiliated with any church. Two of them are more mature and knowledgeable about Christianity; two of them know less. Where am I going with this? Will somebody please help me get back on topic?
Ahh, that made me think of the topics we’ve covered so far. My girls are very interested in what I would consider “sensational” topics. They want to learn about heaven and hell, angels and demons, etc. Oh boy! What have I gotten myself into? So far we’ve read through the Gospel of John, started to watch a Visual Bible video (they weren’t into it), started reading Revelation. Yes, they requested that we read Revelation. 😮
For one of our large group times I got to share a little bit of my testimony and how I struggled as a teen. I was into drugs and alcohol–living a pretty messed up life. I became a Christian at 16 and shared a short synopsis of what has gone on in my life since then. I also talked about how my past would make me seem “unqualified” to the world, to be in a position of ministry. I shared with them that Satan will try to beat them down and tell them things like, “You’re worthless,” “You’ll never amount to anything.” But that is not how God sees us at all. He can take the broken pieces of your life and fit them together into something beautiful. What I said wasn’t amazingly profound, but it was a big challenge for me. I have a phobia of speaking in front of others that God is slowly breaking me of. It’s awfully uncomfortable!
This past week I felt challenged to talk to the girls about making their faith their own. I took them to visit my sister’s gravesite and spoke shortly about how that was the turning point in my life, when I stopped being so self-centered. My sister was in an abusive relationship and she ended up dead from a cocaine overdose. The drugs had come from her boyfriend. There’s still a lot about her death that we don’t know, but I do know that I wasn’t there for my sister when she needed me. I don’t know if I could have changed anything, but I was too wrapped up in myself to even try. I wanted the girls to see that God will send them trials to serve as lessons in their own lives. I wanted them to see the importance of living beyond themselves–for others. I’m not a very articulate speaker, so I don’t know how well my message came across. Afterward we went out for ice cream. I thought it would be good to end things on a positive note. (I’ll share more with you later about how this was a good experience for me, also.)
I’m sorry that this post is one long ramble. I feel like there’s so much to catch up on and my thoughts are a bit of a jumble. I’ll post updates on school and a couple of other topics in the next few days (I hope). Until then–stayed tuned and keep being the awesome person that you are. 😉