As a student minister, a consistent base hit is a great result for programming. However, every once in a while, an event connects in a big way--today was a Home run Student Ministry Day! For the past few years our student ministry has hosted a 6th Grade and 9th Grade blessing time. The event features each student inviting their parents, grandparents or guardians and five adults whom they feel are significant participants in their physical, emotional and spiritual development to a time of blessing led by our church shepherds and student ministry staff. This year, the blessing was personal--Braeden, my son, was participating.
Okay, I will say it, I am a tear factory at these types of events. Even so, I did not expect to shed the first tear--wishful thinking--the water works began with the first few words out of my mouth. My son said later that he knew I would cry but did not think I would be the first. By the way men, he thought it was cool that I was so touched by the moment that I got a little emotional ( I will confess it was sort of a "losing of the man card moment" when my mom, usually the first to cry at such events, passed me a Kleenex).
The program was simple:
- Darin Hollingsworth, our lead middle school student minister, welcomed the participants and explained the importance of adult presence in a student's life and the student ministry.
- Dale Brooks, one of our outstanding Hill's Church shepherds, spoke of the church's love for each student and family and their support of the student ministry itself and ended by giving blessing to students and the student's Parents/Guardians/Adults
- Darin directed a time of blessing in which each student listened to their parents, grandparents, guardians and invited guests speak words of affirmation, praise, encouragement and future hope.
- The event ended with Delton Garnett, another outstanding Hill's shepherd, praying over the students and families as each student was being touched by the loving and supportive hands of another group of wonderful church shepherd (thanks, Curt Parsons and John Wallace--awesome!).
No bells and whistles, videos, drama, or contemplative worship set employed for this event.
Adults spoke loving words of blessing over each middle school student--simple, powerful and memorable!
I asked Dale Brooks to send the words he shared with the students and adults (get the printer ready, you will probably want to put them on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror):
To the parents and mentors:
May the Father fill you with His Spirit and empower you to live a trustworthy life, may you grow in your prayer life with Him, may He grant you discernment and insight to really hear and understand as you listen and observe, courage to verbally affirm and lovingly correct, patience to submit to His timing, compassion to empathize, the heart to forgive, but above all greater love. God bless you.
To the 6th grade students:
May you more fully know the love of Jesus and make Him Lord of your life every day, may your prayer life grow, may you be strong and brave to make right and wise choices, may you have help from family and friends who love Jesus, may you have courage to ask questions and welcome their help when needed, and may you understand that God has special and good purposes for your life to be lived out even now. God bless you.
Tonight, at my son's 6th grade small group, the energy was up and the adults still buzzing from the morning's blessing experience. It was a good day at the Hills and I haven't even mentioned RACE DAY--maybe tomorrow!
QUESTION: Why do you believe such a simple event created such a wonderful and powerful experience for both student and adult?