Parents of new 6th graders,
I still remember when I entered 6th grade. During those first few months, I spent 30 minutes+ every day gelling my hair in the mirror and making sure I picked out an outfit that the other kids would think was cool. I wore the coolest shoes that I could find (and that my parents would pay for). I walked the halls with my new backpack while trying to avoid the 8th graders. And I was always afraid that one of my fellow 6th graders might discover who I was deep down–scared, super self-conscious, and unsure of myself.
I don’t remember when I stopped having those feelings.
After all, they still creep into my life today.
But I do remember one person who helped me begin to move from fear to love, self-consciousness to Christ-centeredness, uncertainty about who I was to confidence in who God created me to be.
That man was Don–my first small group leader at my youth group.
Don was an average joe. He spent his early years in the military and later went back to college as a second-career student. He was divorced. He drove an old Jeep Wrangler.
What made Don far above average for me was that he showed up each week to help me learn about who God was and how much Jesus loved me. I asked him every question I could think of, and while he didn’t always have the answer, he welcomed the conversation. I used to do annoying middle school things like pulling chairs out from under people, and yet he still came back every week. I used to tell him stuff I’d never tell my parents, and he’d simply remind me that God loves us no matter what and always wants to forgive us.
I think having a time and space where 6th graders can be themselves, learn about who God is and who God wants them to be, ask questions, and have encouragement along the way is something that every 6th grader needs. It was transformative for me, and it’s one of the main reasons I’m excited to be a part of the 2014-2015 Decision for Christ class.
If you’re not familiar with Decision for Christ, it is our year long class at Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church to prepare students for Confirmation–the time when they make a public profession of their personal faith in Jesus.
Each week, 6th grade students are invited to a large group teaching session on a topic followed by a week of small group discussion on the topic. They’ll learn about God, Jesus, the Church, living out their faith, and more.
Countless parents have seen their student’s life transformed before their eyes, and I want the same experience for you.
Fortunately, it all kicks off this Sunday and it’s not too late to register your student and for them to join.
Also, we’d love to have you partner with us and consider being a small group leader for Decision for Christ for the school year.
We have a number of leaders already confirmed, but we want to have each small group be the perfect size for discussion and fun and so we’re hoping and praying for a few more volunteers. You’d be responsible for asking discussion questions we give you each week and for helping to reinforce the lesson taught the week before.
You may think your student wouldn’t want you to be in the same room with them on Sundays (since they tell you that alot already), but I know of no more powerful witness of your faith to your student than by serving in the church in an area like this.
Plus, you could be the next “Don” in some student’s life. You could be someone who helps a student move from fear to love, self-consciousness to Christ-centeredness, uncertainty about who they are to confidence in who God created them to be.
If you’re interested in serving, or have questions about registering for the class, please simply reply to this email or give me a call.
p.s. Don and I are still friends. I continue to make it a point to seek out his wisdom regarding the important things in life.