Transition: Part 1

Posted: May 13, 2012 in changes, junior high ministry, middle school ministry

Transition. This word can very much sum up the last 6 months of my life.

As I write this, it was exactly 6 months ago when I recited my vows to my beautiful wife Nicole in front of all our friends and family. Next to my decision to follow Christ and his calling, this was the best decision I have ever made. I don’t know how I convinced her to take the plunge with me, but she did. With this big day came some big changes in my life. That was transition #1.

Transition #2 happened when we answered God’s call to move to Lexington, Kentucky – a galaxy far, far away from anything we were used to! We found ourselves in the land of horse races, big lady hats for those races, and bourbon – the drink of choice for many attenders of those races. Oh, and the hometown of the collegiate national champions, the Kentucky Wildcats. (For any of you who know me, you know how hard it was for me to even type that.) As a much more hip Dorothy would have said, “We’re not in Colorado anymore, Toto.”

Transition #3 happened as I accepted a job and calling to be the Middle School Pastor at Southland Christian Church. It was painstakingly difficult to leave Vanguard, our church back in Colorado, but we were confident that God was calling us here. Southland is a much bigger church (around 12,000 people), and is a multi-site church. With these changes brings new responsibilities and processes to my position that I am learning and experiencing. It’s all very fun, but it is still a big transition nevertheless.

Last week as I thought about all the transitions and changes that we have gone through, coupled with the fact that I think about middle school ministry constantly, I began to see parallels and lessons that could be transferred over to the world of an early adolescent. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, the one word I use to describe this age group is change. Going through so much change can bring about a lot of insecurities, no matter who you are.

For example, as Nicole and I moved to a new city where we literally knew nobody, I felt insecure with hopes that people would like us and want to be friends with us. Is this not what a 6th grader feels when they start middle school?

Or when I started my new job, I had to learn a whole new structure and process for the day-to-day office life. Many times I felt so foolish because I didn’t know how to work the copier or turn the sound system on. Isn’t this what it’s like to be the new 7th grader at school, with a whole set of lockers and class structure that you don’t understand? Or even like kids experiencing puberty, feeling awkward and uncomfortable, trying not to stick out like a sore thumb to everyone else who has it “figured out”?

Last weekend I got the opportunity to visit North Point Community Church in Atlanta with our student ministries team to observe and learn from the way they do middle school ministry there. One of the biggest things that struck me was so simple: the name of their middle school ministry is Transit. It’s as if they looked at the 6th-8th grade years and instead of ignoring the blaring reality of crazy change, they acknowledged it in the most public way possible. I love how they invite students into their culture with the open understanding that these particular kids are going through transit-ion, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

My challenge to you today is to look back at the last big transition in your life: marriage, a job, school, or whatever. Identify the emotions and insecurities you felt on a daily basis. Now magnify those feelings x100 and you might begin to feel what it’s like to be a middle schooler again. Then, just as Jesus went into the homes and lives of the people to whom he was ministering, you may just catch a deeper glimpse into the heart and soul of the middle schooler that you are pouring your life into.

And instead of being a problem-fixer, we can be the one to sit next to them on the bench, put a hand on their shoulder, and say, “Yep, I get it.”

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Comments
  1. It’s been a blessing to witness these life transitions from a distance, David! Grant and I were so excited for you and Nicole and these transitions you find yourself in. And thanks for the reminder that we were all middle schoolers once, lost in a sea of insecurities and transitions. Praying for you!

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