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.

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.

Diagnosed For A Purpose

Diagnosed For A Purpose

 

Rachel Patton bio thumb

Rachel Patton served as a FUGE Bible study leader for two years: 2010 at Carson-Newman and 2013 at North Greenville. She is currently working on master’s degree in Christian Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rachel loves the Phoenix desert, Sonic diet coke w/vanilla, and being spontaneous.

 

Watching God work through my life is by far my favorite part of working camp. As a Bible study leader for two summers, I saw God use my story and my past experiences to impact the lives of students, relate to students, and open doors for great conversation. When I was ten years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It has been a struggle over the last 15 years but has taught me so much about relying on God and his provision. I always knew that I had been diagnosed for a purpose. God has a bigger plan than my own and it has been so cool to see that unfold.

While working FUGE in 2010, we had a diabetic student one week and I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with her. Throughout the lunch, it became apparent that she had blamed God for her diagnosis and was angry with Him. I was humbled by the opportunity to talk with her about God’s plan and purpose for her life, the truth that He knows what is best and that trusting Him will far exceed our expectations. I got to listen to her, share life with her, and pray with her. Later that week, her youth pastor approached me and said that she opened up and shared her struggles with her youth group that night.

I was able to have similar experiences my second summer working FUGE in 2013. Students with diabetes in my Bible study, having one on one conversations, speaking with adults and parents of kids with diabetes, and simply sitting down to check my blood sugar with a student so they wouldn’t feel so alone. God had a plan when I was diagnosed with diabetes all those years ago, and it has far exceeded my expectations. I am so grateful for the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of these other diabetics and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Isn’t it good to serve a God who knows what He’s doing?!

Ministry Tips

Ministry Tips

As a part of the FUGE Camps Blog, we will include posts called Ministry Tips. These posts will be focused on assisting leaders in student ministry. This will allow student ministers, or others involved in leading, to find useful tips for leading in ministry.

These tips will cover a variety of areas.  Here are some examples of the categories of which our posts will consist:

Ideas for activities

    • Themed nights
    • Creative organization

Game Options

    • Small group, large group, from stage
    • Will include debrief questions

Creative worship experiences

    • Prayer experiences
    • Scripture readings

Words of wisdom from other ministers

    • How to equip and involve leaders
    • Student involvement
    • Writing/using curriculum

Bible study/ small group options

    • Selections to help further students’ spiritual growth

Student fellowship ideas

    • Ways to get your students together outside of the normal meetings

Effective options for weeks you may be gone

    • In case you need time with your family, have an emergency, or have other reasons you may be out
    • Feel confident missing without leaving students empty handed

These posts will be focused to help set you up for success.  A new tip will be posted regularly, so check back for these Ministry Tips posts to find ideas to assist you in student ministry.

The Grace Gift

The Grace Gift

AnneBrunner1

Annie Bruner is today’s guest blogger. Annie served this past summer as a MFuge track leader at Belmont University. Annie is currently studying Psychology at Kennesaw State University, with only five classes left to complete. You are likely to find her drinking vanilla milkshakes, watching Duck Dynasty, or daydreaming about the day she can finally meet one of her favorite people, Julie Andrews.  

 
Before working M-Fuge, I had never had an encounter with a homeless person.  I live in Atlanta, so I was aware that homelessness was an issue, but I usually ignored it.  If they were homeless or addicted to drugs or alcohol, they were someone else’s problem.  Certainly not mine.

This summer, I served at the Nashville Rescue Mission with my students.  At first, I was nervous.

Surely God doesn’t want me to tell these people the gospel

It turns out, I ended up having the gospel preached to ME this summer.  Most men that I encountered were a part of the Mission’s Life Recovery Program for addictions.  The Program aims to help men get their lives back on track, but also presents them with the life-altering beautiful truth of Jesus’ grace.

The first person in the Program that I met was not much older than me.  He had struggled with drug addiction for several years until he ended up at the Nashville Rescue Mission.  It was there that the Lord rescued him not only from his addictions, but also his brokenness. This man, who was once identified by his struggles, now finds his identity in Christ ALONE!

The more time I spent at the Nashville Rescue Mission, the more the Lord began to transform my heart.  I met countless people who had surrendered their brokenness to the Lord and were living fully in the grace that Jesus has to offer.  I began to think about the implications of grace in my own life.

The Lord showed me that there is nothing I can do to earn his grace.

Ephesians 2 says that we have been saved by grace through faith, and that grace is a gift from God.  I realized how often I tried to work my way into grace—I thought that if I did more good works, God would love me more.  However, the men of the Nashville Rescue Mission were a beautiful picture of God’s gift to us.  They had literally nothing to offer God, but He rescued them and made them into His masterpieces anyway.