Jr. High Ministry: 16 Ways to Tell if You're a Junior High Youth Worker
group magazine: November-December, 2004
by Kurt Johnston
You might be a junior high youth worker ifÖ
...youíve thought about growing your hair and shaving your goatee but just canít. Personally, I also insist on wearing baggy shorts, Vans shoes, and surf shirts. Look, if I wanted to wear Dockers and a button-down, Iíd work for Microsoft...or be a high school pastor.
...youíve rented The Princess Bride to show at a lock-in. This movieís a great reminder that we donít have to be edgy or controversial to have fun. If we arenít waving the banner of good, clean fun for our students, who is?
...your spouse works part time at Starbucks and still brings home a bigger paycheck. Let me remind you of something youíve certainly told yourself before: You didnít get into this for the money. Besides, free iced mochas are a pretty good perk!
...youíve toilet-papered your senior pastorís house. It didnít sound like a great idea at first, but once you got there it felt pretty good, huh?
...youíve been blamed for a stain on the carpet in the
fellowship hall. Chances are it was the junior high ministry, but did the church janitor ever think to question those fruit-punch-loving senior adults?
...you used to play Chubby Bunny. Did a student really choke to death playing this game? Iím not sure, but Iím done playing. Additionally, Iíve sold all my marshmallow stock due to plummeting sales.
...youíve given away a WWJD bracelet as a prize. It was probably a few years ago, and youíve likely tried to block it from your memory. Remember...the road to recovery begins with recognition.
...youíve used a VeggieTales clip as a teaching tool. I canít explain it, but this is still a guaranteed winner. My favorite clip of all time: the little soldier peas mocking Joshua in Josh and the Big Wall!
...youíve considered creating your own blog. I donít really know for sure what a blog is, but Iíve thought about
...youíve spent hard-earned vacation time in a cabin full of 7th-graders. You didnít sleep much and went back to work in worse shape than when you left, but lives were changed and youíd do it again next week if you were asked.
...youíve thought about quittingótoday! Iím not sure if a day goes by that I donít think about transitioning to an easier ministry area. Iím not sure if a day goes by that God doesnít remind me of the importance of my calling.
...youíve been the victim of students pouring warm water into your hand while you slept. Like I said, not a day goes by....
Öyou really want an iPod. Okay, you donít have to be a junior high worker to really want an iPod. But you do have to be a junior high worker to figure out how to convince the church elders that the junior high department really needs an iPod!
Öyouíve bought a Palm Pilot but never use it. You will, however, use your iPod. Trust me.
Öyouíve caught yourself telling a booger joke in your adult small group. Or youíve giggled because you ďcut oneĒ and nobody knew it was you.
...youíve had high school students return to say thanks. They hardly ever say it when theyíre in junior high, but they will eventually.
Kurt Johnston is the junior high minister at Sad≠dle≠back Church in California, and heís the co-author of the book Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry (Standard) and Go Team!: 101 Ideas to Energize Youth Ministry Volunteers (Group Publishing, Inc.).