As children’s pastors we really want to make a difference in the lives of preteens. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I hear of a kid’s prayer being answered or when told thanks for making a difference by a parent of a preteen in crisis. Heck, I even get pumped up when a student can tell me what was taught last weekend at church! But if we’re not careful our desire to make a difference can come back to bite us. Let me explain.

One night during small group I was trying to challenge my students a bit too much. The questions I was asking were somewhat over their heads and the response was less than enthusiastic. I think I may have even gotten hit by a spitball. Regardless, I kept pushing them getting aggravated at their immaturity and lack of interest in the discussion. Then it hit me (not the spitball but a somewhat profound thought)…my desire to see their lives changed by God forced me to be pushy, irritated, and controling. My motives were good, but my expectations were too high. I wanted them to act like adults when they were only 10-12 years old. I needed to relax and lighten up. It seems that God uses me the most when I’m at ease, real and just being myself. In turn I needed to allow them to be themselves and be patient. I like to challenge them as much as the next guy, but my expectations need to be realistic and approach simplistic. If you find yourself staring at a whole bunch of disengaged eyeballs, then maybe you need to relax and lighten up too.

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