Ever since Tom and I started to attend Northpoint, I’ve been talking to him about wanting to volunteer in either middle school or high school ministry. This year, I decided to dive into it. We joined the church back in December, and we lead our couples small group, but I still wanted to be a part of the lives of these girls and young women growing up in the church.
I decided to check out Xtreme, the ministry for middle school students. After checking it out, I was sold. I wanted to be a small group leader for a group of girls who were leaving behind forever their childhood days in elementary school and stepping into a world of hormones, boyfriends, zits, training bras, school sports, cliques, and the general craziness that is middle school.
Am I insane?
I must be. Why would anyone want to go back to middle school? But for some reason, I’ve been undeniably excited about my new role in these girls’ lives. It’s a big commitment, but I feel like God was really pushing me in this direction, whispering in my ear all the memories of how hard it can be to navigate those awkward years of transitioning from child to teenager. I just want to be someone these girls can lean on, someone they can count on, especially since this is the time when kids start to realize their parents aren’t right about everything. And then they don’t really think their parents are right about anything. So it doesn’t hurt to have another grown up in their lives that they can talk to, partnering with their parents to guide them along, even though we definitely don’t know it all either.
Here’s what’s ahead for me: Three years of commitment to a group of girls, not just on Sunday morning, but throughout the week. I’ll be attending plays, sports competitions, choir performances, etc. to let these girls know that I care about them and support them. They’ll have my cell phone number, and they can call me when their world goes upside down. I’ll be texting them to let them know I’m thinking of them when they have a big test or project due. I’ll be working with my co-leaders to plan monthly or bi-monthly socials. I’ll be attending overnight camps with them that the church plans. And, of course, I’ll be there to sing along at their worship service, listen to their sermon, and facilitate conversation during small group at 9AM every Sunday morning before attending the 11AM service with Tom.
I’m still excited.
Remind me of that when I come crawling back from a several-days-long church camp where I had to keep up with girls just heading into the sixth grade. I might be more “dead” than “excited” at that point.
But for now, I’m excited. And I have a co-leader and a high school co-leader to join me on this journey. Janet is a mom in her early 40’s, and Skylar is a sophomore in high school. From the one time we met, we all seemed to get along really well, and I’m grateful for that. We will be there to lead these girls together. We’ll also have it covered when one of us is sick or out of town and can’t make it to church some Sunday, which is really great.
Also, did I mention that I’m excited about this? I am. Excited, I mean.
Excited. Pumped. Ready to go.
So…when I opened my email today to find the roster of girls, I thought to myself, “I wonder how many we’ll have? 12? That’s a pretty big group.” And then I looked. And then I counted.
18. Eighteen. 18 girls. THAT is a big group. Really big. But that just made me more excited. I think I might need to be committed.
Anyway, I went and jumped into my “I’ve been looking at party planning sites for months” mode and decided to make these girls some little goody bags. I wanted to have some way of remembering who was who after I meet them all for the first time this Sunday. And it doesn’t hurt to give something sweet to a new friend. So I got some starbursts, jolly ranchers, and lifesavers at the store, and I got to work. After printing some polka dots, using scrapbooking stencils and paper cutters (the kind that’s a sliding blade, not scissors), and printing out several slips with all of the leaders’ contact info, I got to assembling. I was pretty pleased with the final result, considering I threw it together in one night and that the printer was malfunctioning.
There are A LOT of girls. Wow. I made a few extra just in case they decided to bump us up 20 or 21 girls plus us leaders. The contact info is on the white sheet under their names. I thought I’d protect our privacy and not put our cell numbers online. The arrow in the picture below points to the contact sheet. I thought the parents might want a hard copy of this info.
Who are these girls? I can’t wait to see their faces, to learn their personalities, to hear their voices, and to watch them grow over the next three years. All I know now are their names.
Each one of them, to their parents, is a sweet blessing, a gift from God. I can’t help but be excited that He has brought me to this place in their lives and that their parents are giving their trust to us. I know He has a purpose for me in their future. What an awesome thing to know that God can use you for good in the lives of others. I don’t know what the next three years will hold, but I know who holds the next three years, and I know He has brought me to these girls intentionally.
I’m so excited.