10. FUN & PLAY. They still enjoy a great game and can still play. Too many adults have forgotten how to really play and have fun.
9. EXCITEMENT. Life is still exciting and they can still get genuinely over the top excited about life, experiences and the things of God. Come on seriously have every heard a 5th-8th grade girl scream when something is exciting.
8. LAUGHTER. Things that are funny are still FUNNY! There is no holding back and trying to be all polite and reserved. There is no "adult worship sermon chuckle". Either they laugh or they don't. Body function humor and random silliness is still hilarious!
7. NO EDIT BUTTON. What they think... you hear. If they think "God Sucks" today because of something that happened at school or at home, that is what they say....period. There is none of the holier than thou, "church correct" fluff. The adult "edit button" just hasn't developed yet!
6. PARENT CAN STILL BE CALLED. Come on you know you love it. You may not do it unless you really have to, but in the back pocket of every MS/JH youth worker is still the "I am going to call your parents" card. You can't do that as much in Sr. High. You maybe should with some of the college age students. I DEFINITELY wish we could with some of the adults. The benefit and the curse of 5th-8th grade students ministry is parent may still be involved.
5. I AM STILL COOL..Sort Of!? Once again lets be real, we are all getting older. We think and act like we are hip and relevant, but at the end of the day we are just dorks who love Jesus and students. The Sr. High students who are my former students love me and think I am kind of cool, but my pre-teen students are still completely duped into thinking I am the coolest...well maybe?
4. LIFE IS NOT ALL FIGURED OUT. They are getting into the whole "know-it-all" stage, but you still get through to them about life, God, and everything else. We will have opportunities to talk to them because they don't think the have it all figured out yet.
3. UGLY DUCKLINGS. The fact is in my world I get to be there when the cute little 5th grader moves into my ministry and then in 6th grade turns into the clumsy and geeky 7th and 8th Grader, before they turn into the beautiful swan in Sr. High. I love it every time. Pull out the 5th grade head shot compare it to the graduating senior picture. It is one of the reason I still believe God performs miracles today!
2. WILLING TO LIVE THE LIFE. A life lived for Christ is still possible and real. They are still willing to believe they can live the life! No careers, bad break-ups, and pride to slow them down yet. You say "Hey this is the Christian life, lets go live it" and they are willing to get it a shot! They may fail, but they are willing to bounce back up, full of energy and give it another try.
1. WET CEMENT. I know this one has been used before, but it is has to be the #1 here too. MS/JH students are truly forming and developing, for better or worse. It is a time of change and transition. They are truly wet cement. I LOVE being able to with God's help write on their lives and hearts thing that will hopefully become permanent parts of who they are. It is HUGE and scare fact, but my students are choosing who they are going to be for the rest of their lives. I get to stand beside them and help them hold the stick that draws the picture in the quick-dry cement of their life, and that is Such an Incredible Privilege!