Kris and I worked with students for the first decade of our marriage. We ate a lot of pizza, regularly filled up our grocery cart with Mountain Dew, and did more all-nighters than I can even remember.
We also learned that young people are INTELLIGENT, INQUISITIVE, CURIOUS, THOUGHTFUL, and AWARE. They are PASSIONATE and BRAVE about their faith.
For a summer project, at our first church, we decided to have a Vacation Bible School. We called it Campus 2 Campus and incorporated our middle school summer mission trip with the VBS week. We would stay with the kids on a local college campus and they would serve each morning at the VBS. In the afternoons and evenings they would serve, do group activities, and participate in devotions together. We shared our plans to have the middle school students be the group leaders of the VBS. Two middle students and one fifth grade helper would lead a small group of elementary and preschool children through the stations lead by adult volunteers. Every four groups would also have an adult leader close by for help when needed.
The middle school students would care for the needs of all the kids in their group, get to know them, help them with each project, ask discussions questions, sing with them, and help them have a wonderful week.
It did not seem entirely plausible to everyone that this system would work but God knew these kid’s hearts. In faith, their parents and our church entrusted them with the responsibility. We knew their hearts from what God revealed to us through prayer times, Sunday night discipleship meetings, and school morning Bible studies. They were ready to be used. We prepped them and they worked hard to be ready. The first summer they did beautifully. They rose to the occasion, met every expectation, build amazing relationships with younger kids in the church, and blew us all away. That was nine years ago. Campus 2 Campus has taken place many summers since, helmed by middle school students. (I can’t wait to share more youth stories with you. They are inspiring.)
Will you have a teenager? Do you have a teenager? Does someone you know have a teen? Do you have a teen niece, nephew, or grandchild? I encourage you to read Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. Then give a copy to the young person in your life.
Do Hard Things is a teenage rebellion against low expectations. The movement was birthed after a summer of reading assigned by brothers Brett and Alex Harris’s father. They felt a stirring within themselves that their teen years could have deeper meaning. The following summer they took a difficult internship with the Alabama State Court. The books sites stories of young people from the past and present that chose to live a life that defied low expectations.
The five steps they talk about in their book:
- Go outside of your comfort zone
- Go beyond what is expected or required of you
- Some things are too big to accomplish alone
- Do things that don’t earn an immediate payoff
- Do things that challenge the cultural norm
Learn more about the rebelution and read inspiring stories about young people.
“A generation of rebelutionaries will write books, direct films, raise and train children, design buildings, run for office, and make scientific and medical discoveries. We will strive to bring the truth of God’s Word and the gospel to bear on every area of life we touch.”