Listen Closely

Listen Closely

haleybiopic

Haley Lavergne participated in the Student Leader Apprentice (SLA) program for two years: 2012 in Nashville, TN and 2013 in Glorieta, NM. She is currently studying at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In her spare time, you will find her outside in a hammock immersed in a good book or creating art with various mediums.

 

“Welcome to SLA, where questions about the future aren’t allowed and getting thrown outside of your comfort zone is guaranteed.”

Although I wasn’t greeted with these exact words when arriving at Glorieta, they certainly sum up my experience. I arrived asking the Lord to move in mighty ways and left in awe of how He exceeded my expectations. Being quiet and being a friend to listen and encourage was the trend for the entire two weeks. It sounds small because I am a small part of what God did. He doesn’t need me but He chooses to use me. What a beautiful God we serve.  I was given the opportunity to watch God use something as simple as truly listening, in such a huge way as He began to heal hurting people. All the while, I had a front row seat listening to fellow SLAers, staffers, campers, site friends, and most importantly: the Lord. I was continually taken back by our innate desire to be heard and known. It was simultaneously: overwhelming, wonderful, powerful and humbling. SLA’s focus on service leadership taught me how truly listening and serving the people in front of me are crucial.

James 5:16a says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I think much of the healing James talks about also comes from listening. I learned that that’s where ministry happens: in intentional moments packed with sincere love and genuine care for God’s people. Jesus took the time to not only heal people’s physical needs, but He took care of them as human beings with the desire to be loved. He saw desires to be seen, accepted, and deeply known. It went beyond physical healing. He went deeper to care for emotions. He loved past the surface. He loves deep and He loves well. I learned about that at SLA and it is something I am grateful to say I’m still learning.

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.