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Creativity: In week 1, I stole an idea I got from Rick Lawrence over at Group Publishing (thanks Rick! I got a wide variety of objects like a rubber band, a crushed soda can, an empty cup, a domino, etc., and asked the guys to choose an object that best symbolized their experience in middle school so far.
Basically, the later-development of the frontal lobe helps students learn in ways we can’t teach them with our words.
(**As a side note, we call our small groups “Life Groups,” but for the sake of universal understanding, I will be calling them small groups in this series.) Content: In the first two weeks we had two main goals – get to know the guys, and set the tone for what small group is all about.
In week 1, we came up with expectations as a group (I included the picture to the right for you to enjoy! In week 2, we talked about what it meant to be a community of guys.
No, he wasn’t getting abused by anyone (unless you count himself as “anyone”). He would take his bike everywhere and go off anything that could be a ramp or grind on anything that could be a pole.
Everything was an opportunity for adventure to him… Specifically, development that affects the way I do ministry is what fascinates me.
One guy chose a crushed Coke can and said that his relationship used to be strong like a normal can but has recently felt weak and crushed like the one in his hand. Cool Moments: The coolest moment for me was when the guy was sharing about his relationship with God with the crushed can.
As he finished up sharing he began to tear up (Keep in mind this was our first ever meeting).
And most of those adventures resulted in bleeding legs, bruised faces, and scabbed arms. I learned very early on in ministry that during puberty, a person’s brain is still not fully developed.
He was very proud of his “war-wounds,” but one week I just had to ask him, “Why do you keep doing those things if you always end up hurting yourself?! Have you ever seen so much risk-taking in a student’s life that it started to drive you a little crazy? But what I want to encourage you with today is that maybe… One of the biggest parts that has yet to grow is the frontal lobe. Oh, just a few important things – rationalizing, decision-making, responsibility, wisdom, empathizing, speculation, and so on.
” He simply replied: “Life would be boring if I didn’t bike.” I don’t know if you’re a parent or a youth worker, but regardless, I bet you have witnessed a lot of risk-taking behavior in your middle school students. I think it’s safe to say that it’s kind of important.
So before you get frustrated at your student for not thinking properly, about what’s happening in their brain.
I’m sure it would have been easier with my co-leader, but even a middle school pastor can struggle with keeping order in the room sometimes!