Imagine going to a U2 concert with a group of toddlers.
Or buying tickets to see Yo Gabba Gabba with a middle school group.
Or watching Barry Manilow with all 3rd-grade boys.
Hopefully, you’ve never done any of these things. Musicians, even great musicians, play for a specific audience. Not everyone relates to country music, or hip hop, or jazz. That doesn’t make those genres less inspiring. It just means the musician has to know more than music if they hope to connect with their audience.
The same is true if you want to help kids and teenagers connect with their Creator. Kids at every phase have been made in the image of God with the ability to know God.
“They grow up so fast.” That’s the number one comment I hear from strangers who see me with my children. They are six, four, and six months and we are a walking reminder to everyone who has ever had kids that time is moving. It’s the sentiment of grandparents everywhere read more
You know you’re talking to a phase expert when they answer the “Why is this the most important phase?” question with a smile and a simple “because it is.”
Tom Shefchunas has not only the gift of simplification and sarcasm, he is actually one of the smartest leaders we know when it comes to understanding the world of middle school. Shef has passion unlike any other for creating a safe place where every middle schooler knows they belong. His life mission to do for a few what he wishes he could do for everyone may be one reason he is able to lead a ministry that reaches over 3,000 middle schoolers every week.
The first thing I thought when I read the list was how much I wanted to share it with anyone I know who has a preschooler. Because let’s be honest, this is exactly what it’s like to live with a three-year-old.
The next thing I thought was (and I’m not sure why), “I wonder what this list sounds like for the parent of a middle schooler?” Since three-year-olds and eleven-year-olds have a few similarities, I texted a few of my friends who spend a lot of time around middle schoolers, Elle Campbell and Dan Scott, and we pulled together this follow up list.
35 Reasons My Middle Schooler Might Be Freaking Out
Every middle schooler needs someone to affirm their personal journey. Maybe that’s why after 16 years in middle school ministry affirmation is part of Brooklyn’s second nature. Even if she wasn’t an expert on the mind and world of adolescence, even if she wasn’t a skilled communicator, even if she didn’t have a passion for connecting teens to consistent service opportunities, I might keep Brooklyn on speed dial just because.
Here’s what Brooklyn Lindsey had to say when we asked her a few questions about the Middle School Phases.