You have been with them for three or maybe even four years. Some of them you have known even longer, if you have been around the church for a while either through their parents or their other siblings. There is so much growing that happens during the middle years: physically, mentally and more importantly spiritually.
Here are 5 things that I share with my graduating class of 8th graders that I want them take with them into the high school years:
1. If you mess up, don’t quit. Failure is a way of learning, sometimes messing up can make you stronger. Don’t stop trying to live righteous. Don’t stop trying to live right by God’s perfect standards, no one is going to live it out perfectly. But if you ever think, “I’m done, or God’s done with me because of what I did. I might as well stop trying to do right”, DON’T. God died for you to have freedom from the penalty of sin, God grace is bigger than you mess ups. God will use your mistakes, your hard times, your bummers to mold you and to help others.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Deuteronomy 31:6b “Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.”
2. Keep asking questions It’s ok if you have been going to church your whole life and you still don’t know all the answers. Never stop asking questions about your faith. You’re going to get bombarded with life issues, culture, trends, politics, life comes at you fast. Don’t be afraid to ask an Christian adult some hard questions about your faith…. “Ask, Seek, Knock”
Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
3. Be kind Be kind to each other in High School. What do you want people to remember about you at your 20-year reunion? If you pass away, what do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Show respect to others and be kind.
Ephesians 4:3 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
4. Trust your parents Parents/guardians/grandparents, whoever God has put in your life, whoever it is that brought you to church. They have the ability to see the big picture, they know you better than your friends know you. They also know that if a problem isn’t dealt with at 13 then it will probably be a problem at 24.
Proverbs 1:8 “Listen, my son to your father’s instructions and do not forsake your mothers teaching.”
5. Never stop pursuing Jesus Don’t let your relationship with Christ get stagnant. You relationship isn’t supposed to peak in middle school or even high school, but it should be a steady incline of continual growing in Christ. Like marriage, your relationship with Christ is something you don’t stop pursuing, but you continue the pursuit getting to know them for a lifetime. Don’t let your relationship with Christ get stagnate, but always be in pursuit of getting to know Him. Reading / Prayer / talking / asking questions / stay connected in high school, be in fellowship with other believers.
Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Scott Pittman is a Middle School Pastor veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is currently serving as the Middle School Pastor at Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego County. Scott has a Masters in Pastoral Care from Bethel Seminary San Diego. He has a passion to help families and students through the challenges that arise during the middle school years. Scott enjoys networking with other youth workers and helping churches develop a healthy and consistent youth ministry that fits the culture of their church.