The Role of an Adult in the Life of a Teenager

The Role of an Adult in the Life of a Teenager

janas

Today’s guest post comes from one of our favorites,  Jana Spooner.  Jana worked with FUGE for 12 years, and now serves as an associate publisher of women’s books with B&H Publishing Group at LifeWay. Jana is wife to Michael, mom to Abigail, and student ministry volunteer at Central Baptist Hendersonville, TN. She loves all things Texas, coffee, and mexican food.

 

I have spent most of my adult life working with teenagers in some capacity. Sometimes that was Sunday school teacher. Sometimes it was camp staffer. Sometimes it was mentor, worship leader, chaperon, host home mom, lock-in supervisor, homework helper, you name it. I love them.

I love how awkward they are in middle school and how they literally do not stop moving. Ever.

I love how they think they know everything one day and the next day the whole world is a blank slate again.

I love how dramatic they are. Seriously. They are dramatic because everything is important to them. EVERYTHING is SUPER IMPORTANT! Like, OMG…

I love getting texts from them where I have to enlist google to decipher what all the abbreviations mean…IDK what UR talking about…

I’ll be the first one to admit that I feel like an unlikely candidate for student ministry. Suffice it to say, I am not cool. In fact, I am pretty much the opposite of cool. I am not loud or crazy. I’m not silly. I dress conservatively and am fairly reserved most of the time. My kid goes to bed at 8:00 on the dot so my idea of “night life” is limited to Netflix or a good book. And I am perfectly ok with that!

Not only am I not cool, I’m a rule enforcer. At camp, I knock on your door at 6:45 a.m. to make sure you will make it to breakfast on time. I make you drink water and eat vegetables. I don’t let you go back for a second bowl of ice cream. I will shush you.

I don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m cool and that’s why teenagers would like me. So why would they? Because I’m an adult. And they need adults. They need their parents, first and foremost. But even when their parents are godly and loving, they still need other adults. They need people who will love them the way Christ loves them. They need to see what it looks like to live out your faith in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and so on. They need to see that a relationship with Christ extends beyond the walls of the church.

They don’t necessarily need a buddy. They have friends speaking all kinds of messages into their lives every day. They don’t need more of that. They need adults who will speak truth. And who will listen. And love them and value them. That’s why it’s ok that I’m not cool. I don’t need to be. That’s not my role. My role is to model a life fully lived for Christ and the Gospel and to spur them on to do the same.

National Tongue Twister Day

Maybe you celebrate it every year, or maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it, but get ready friends, because this Sunday is National Tongue Twister Day!

We’re celebrating a little early here in the office by practicing some tongue twisters ourselves.

Check out our attempts…

 

What’s YOUR favorite tongue twister? Share in the comment section!

Office Tongue Twisters from Fuge Camps on Vimeo.

Be Real

Be Real

AndyBAndy Buckwalter served as a FUGE Bible study leader at Ridgecrest last summer. He currently serves as the Director of Youth Ministry at Crux Youth Ministry. Andy and his wife, Leann, reside in York, Pennsylvania. He has a degree in Youth ministry from Messiah College. Interesting fact about Andy: He once punched a fish underwater because it bit him!

 

Some of us have lived it. All of us have dreaded it. I’m talking about an all too familiar scenario. You are in Bible study, or youth group, and a teenager in the back raises his hand and asks “that” question. The question you went to great lengths to avoid during this Bible study, the one you have been avoiding like the plague for one simple reason. You don’t know the answer.

Now, as the room temperature steadily increases, you have several options. Option one, you can come up with some weak “Sunday school” answer and try to fake your way around it, without actually answering the question and get back to what you wanted to talk about. Option two, disregard their question by saying it is off topic, and say, “we can talk about that another time,” with no intention of doing so. Option three, you throw a bunch of big words at them that you are sure they do not know what they mean (and neither do you). Or option four, fake a heart attack.

But there is another option, and it is one we often forget: Just be real with them. It is ok to say, “I don’t know”. Believe it or not, not knowing everything there is to know about God will not cause you to lose their respect. In fact, being so open with them will gain more respect from them. A technique I have used in the past is to say, “That is a great question. I don’t have an answer for it. What do you guys think?” Turn the question back to the group. Let them discuss it. Feel free to say what you think, but listen first. Be real with them. Some of my best evenings with youth have started with a question that I could not answer, and ended with them dialoguing together about our Lord. Isn’t that what we want?

So the next time this happens, let’s not worry about our pride and how intelligent we look, but rather look to the opportunity God has presented us with.

When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say – Luke 12:11-12

Ministry Tip – Games: POLE-ish Olympics

Ministry Tip – Games: POLE-ish Olympics

Today, we bring the first posting for Ministry Tips in the form of a game to use with your student group. This game comes from my days as a student in my church’s youth group. A few of my friends and I were goofing off and unintentionally created a game that proved to be loved by our group for the remainder of my school years.

We’ve included a video to explain the game and give some visual aid.  Enjoy.

– Jonathan Espy

Ministry Tips – POLE-ish Olympics from Fuge Camps on Vimeo.

Rearranging Death

Rearranging Death

 

Too often we settle for rearranging death, while Christ is offering abundant life.”  – Jaime George

The cruise control on my car is broken. In fact, it hasn’t worked since I got the car. At first, this felt very inconvenient. Every few days, I would click the cruise button just in case it suddenly started operating correctly again. But now, after having my car for several years, I don’t even think about cruise control– I’ve gotten accustomed to not relying on it.

I wish the same was true in my spiritual life.

Switching  into cruise mode with Jesus is often easy for me: I spend time with Him only when it’s convenient, I don’t take the time to acknowledge his grace, and my prayer-life is practically non-existent. And as a result, I am less considerate of others, more selfish with my time, and content with stagnancy.  This, friends, is not why Jesus came.

Jesus stepped down from the right hand of the Father NOT so we could casually follow Him. Jesus took on flesh NOT so we could make idols out of cheap imitations. Jesus became sin itself NOT so we could chase the American dream.

Jesus became the defeated to meet the defeated. Jesus became poor to be with the poor. Jesus laid aside his rights to be with the ones who have lost their rights.  Jesus came to raise the dead to life – a life that is abundant.

Like the prodigal son in Luke 15 who squanders his father’s fortune, we often settle for much less than we were created for.  The Savior of the world is calling us to something more; He’s asking us to leave behind our small ideas of what our life should be like and embrace his extravagant plan. Rather than settling for rearranging death, let’s embrace life abundant. It will require great sacrifice, and daily denial of self, but there is no better ambition in life than to follow hard after Jesus.