This past weekend at Timberlake, students and kids all across our family life ministries moved up into the grade they're heading into this coming Fall. For some students, this meant continuing in a program that most of them have come to love. However, for a few grades, this meant moving into an entirely new program and environment. At Timberlake, we call this move up process "Up Week." Now, Up week has always been one of my favorite times of the year, and for the past three years, I simply chalked it up to excitement in the program. New students always bring fresh energy, excitement, and perspective to any of our kids or youth programs, from K12 all the way up through high school.
And this past Sunday, as we welcomed students across the spectrum this weekend to new programs, the same excitement was there for our High School ministry, the program I lead hands on. However, after spending a bit of time over the past couple days reflecting on it, I think I've arrived at the core of my excitement surrounding Up Week-- potential. As I was thinking about and praying for the incoming class of HS students, I caught myself praying for and dreaming about the potential inside of each and every student who had just walked into our program. Potential for things like: reaching friends only they can reach, making a difference for Jesus Christ even in this life stage, and setting an example that peers and adult leader alike can follow. Now, I know that perhaps I'm a little (if not disturbingly) biased at how much I truly believe in HS students. I think they're the greatest group of people on earth, and I think if Jesus Christ gets a hold of their heart and mind at this age, there's no limit to what they can do for him.
See, HS students are at a unique juncture in life: they're old enough to enact change to a particular extent, yet young enough to believe that anything's possible. They're free of the normal skepticism that life throws our way, and their eyes and hearts are wide open to what God can do in and through their lives. And, in this process, I arrived at a really simple question-- "What if I believed like they believed?"
Jesus talks about the best kind of faith to have a follower of him, the "faith like a child" (Luke 18:17 NIV). When Jesus says this, what I really think he means is, "Do you really think I'm capable of doing what I said I would? Do you believe in me like a 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade student does?" It was a pretty challenging question. If I'm honest, some days a do, but they're becoming fewer and far between. I'm getting pretty good and thinking through structure, and strategy, and organization when it comes to following Jesus Christ. But, this past weekend, I tried to be honest enough with myself to ask a simple question, and I'd encourage you to do the same....
"What would it look like for me to believe that God was able to do what He says he would. Who could I help reach? What could I do for His Kingdom?"
So, here's to believing like a freshman in HS, and unlocking the potential that God's put inside of us.