Monday, January 08, 2007

Work in Progress

Hey...look at me...I'm posting again. Pretty cool huh?

I thought I'd write about something we are currently wrestling(in the productive sense of the word) with in our Student Ministries. I tried to keep the mission for our Student ministries simple:

Love (all students, period.)

Lead ( students into relationship with Christ)

Build (those students who choose to follow Christ into disciples)

Love, Lead, Build.

There has been an unwritten, but very often spoken, companion to those three: We want our students who spend any significant amount of time with us to own their faith. That means we want students to respond to the work of Christ in their lives because they choose to, not because I say so. We want our students to be able to articulate what they believe not what their folks believe. We want our students to connect with God 24/7 not just on Sunday mornings.

Recently, I feel like we have discovered another component that we need to work on. We want our students to know or at a bare minimum, begin to understand, who it is that God uniquely created them each to be. I think simply stating that fact out loud will allow many of our students to breathe a sigh of relief. 1) It's not only okay but normal to not really know who you are as a middle school or high school student 2) Someone wants to help them on that journey of discovery.

So what is it that makes us, well us? Not who we are, but who we were meant to be? (The differences between those two things is huge, incredibly important and a integral piece of this particular puzzle) How do we discover that? What conversations should we be having with our students? What experiences should we be creating? In what ways might we have to change what we do on a weekly basis?

Maybe there will be more to come on this as we work through it. Until then, I'd love to hear what ya'll think.



tony sheng said...


I think merely the act of an adult saying something like, "You were created unique by a god that created you for a significant purpose that only you can fulfill" is huge. Our students don't hear statements like that enough from the adults in their lives.

I'm a big Myers Briggs fan and just over the past year or so have gotten a few of my other leaders and some students to do StrengthFinders - that has been a lot of fun. So this exploration of personality and strengths is, I think, a great place to start.

I also think not enough of our students are empowered and unleashed to impact the world in the unique and significant way God envisioned for them. It's one thing to say it to them - and wholly another to unleash them and expect them to mark human history. Maybe a change towards students putting together community impact experiences for each other? Not simple or easy.

TK said...


The strengths finder tool is pretty cool. I really like the common language it provides as we talk through strengths.

My top five are: Maximizer, Achiever, Competition Connectedness, Belief. How 'bout you?

The unleashing part is where this stuff can get really exciting. My hope is that is where the majority of our time and energy will be spent. Otherwise it just a lot of nice words.


tony sheng said...

cool deal
mine are Arranger, Developer, Positivity, Woo and Futuristic.

totally agree with you on the unleashing part - it really changes the whole scope of what we do as youthworkers.

wardo said...

At the risk of throwing cold water, do any of your students find it daunting to understand what God wants them to be? I only ask because one of them might end up being, I don't know, let's say 38 years old and still wondering if he's on the right path, and that can be frustrating.

Beyond that, you're giving these young people things to think about, and reasons to think, and that, my friend and brother, is a great gift and tool you're giving them. Keep it up -- and please keep sharing. I need all the tools I can get!

TK said...


no worries about the cold water. My hope is that helping students figure out who they were created to be will produce hope and a vision for the future.

Let's take your example of a 38 year old who might feel like he/she is still struggling to find the right path. Recognizing one's gifts and talents, like say, oh I don't know, music and writing is more than half the battle. I believe in addition to gifts and talents we each have a call on our lives. The fact that someone is frustrated with where they might find themselves is evidence of that call. Finding the intersection of those gifts and talents and that call, that's where the good stuff is.


CampHillGirl said...


I read this last night and then thought about it for a while. I think the things you are emphasizing in your mission are the important things. And I completely think jr. high and high school certainly aren't going to know themselves. Doing Myers-Briggs in high school was an eye-opening, freeing experience for me, and if it had been done in a youth group setting, I think that would have been a big pull for me, to know there were people who thought I could be me. But I agree with TS that eventually you want to move them not just from knowing who they are but to the fact that God has called and created them for a unique, amazing purpose in life. I guess, a goal is to get students to see beyond the immediate to a greater future or even just the current impact they can have on others. But what does that means practically? That's tough.