It drew us like a magnet.  Not much to look at.  Just a small piece of dark asphalt. The grass next to it was not an option – one girl was horribly allergic – so the pavement it was.  But we didn’t complain.  Half-way through the day, a bell rang out and we made our way to that spot of ground we had claimed as our own.  By senior year, we had outgrown some of our awkwardness and insecurities and each of us was beginning the process of becoming comfortable in our own skin.  We sat on books or our jackets or the hard ground and opened up paper sacks and sodas and water bottles.  And then WE opened up.  About tests not studied for.  About teachers who made us laugh.  About boys who made us smile.  And cry.  And sometimes smile again.  Sometimes we all talked at once.  And sometimes we sat silently while one girl poured out her heart.    All too soon, another bell rang.  Trash was collected and tossed, good-byes were said and we ran to our next classes.   Leaving the safety of our group and going out into the often unkind and frequently scary world of a high-schooler.

In case you haven’t heard, your kids are now in small groups.  The goal (and we are still working on this) is for kids to be in the SAME small group each week with the SAME Small Group Leader (SGL).  And, let me tell you, this as been SO FUN to watch!   Kiddos are developing connections with each other and with their SGL’s and having fun while doing it – yay!

One of our awesome volunteers came up to me last Sunday.  She was concerned, though.  She noticed that her group was moving more slowly during the activities than the other groups.  “They are really talkative,” she noted.  They have a lot to say.  To each other.  To HER.

And I smiled.  I assured her that getting every one of the crafts, or worksheets, or games done was not what was most important to me.  Doing what she was doing WAS.  This volunteer was creating a safe space.   A fun space.  Where little girls can giggle and play and learn and, hopefully, ask questions.  Hard questions.  About God.  About friends.  And about kids who are NOT friendly.

I have heard it said more than once (usually when a child is facing an incredibly difficult situation) that “kids are resilient.”  And I praise God whenever I see a child overcome something immensely painful.  Brutal.  But I don’t believe kids are as tough as we’d like to believe. I know from listening to my own son, our kids hurt and get scared and carry burdens we, their parents, sometimes know nothing about.   I am also convinced that, the kids who DO survive, do so in part because God brings people into their lives who support them.  Laugh and cry with them.   LISTEN to them.

They need that.

 

Actually, we ALL need that.  To know others.  And to be known.  And what better place than church to find this?  But this will not happen in large groups.  In rows.  So I am going to say something you have likely been hearing on Sunday mornings.  We need to be in circles.  Sometimes to get what we need.  And sometimes to give what others need.

If you have your doubts, that’s fine.

Just watch your kids.

And prepare to be amazed.

 

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

 

Melinda Lamera
Sun Grove Children’s Ministry