Duct Tape Preteens to a Wall
Image by Chad Goldman Photography
Many of us in preteen ministry try to fix the preteens we lead. When preteens are hurting, we try to solve their problems. The truth is we can’t solve them, nor should we try.
We try to fix their spiritual issues as well, challenging them to grow in their relationship with God. Now, challenging preteens in this area can be very helpful. However, we can overdo it when students become our projects. We take on the responsibility of seeing that they read the Bible, pray and spend time with God. Often spending a lot of our time with students who show an interest in growing their relationship with God. We give them our praise and attention. Without realizing it, we are putting a condition on the love we extend students. In this case, we are no different than the parent who shows love only when students excel in sports, school or other activities – except our condition is spiritual in nature. Preteens are not our projects.
The best thing we can do is accept preteens as-is, and extend our unconditional love. Give attention, time and focus to all students, not just the ones who are showing an interest in God. Spend time with students based on God’s leading. Accept them as-is – messed up human beings trying to figure out who they are and who God is. Give praise and encouragement to all. Sure, challenge preteens to grow, but don’t look at them as projects. They’re human beings who need you to simply to show up. Show up, be involved in their lives, and be present during the good times and the bad times. Encourage them when they need to be uplifted and remind them how much they are loved as-is by God.
You’re not in control, only God. You can’t fix preteens’ problems, only God can. God is a big God. Step out of the way and let God lead.