What comes to mind when I mention the term “junior high students”? For many, it’s 13 year old boys with too much energy and too few showers per week. For others, it’s catty girls who spend too much time trying new makeup ensembles and experimenting with bizarre clothing styles. Still others envision pimple faced kids staring at smart phones, completely enthralled with SnapChat, Instagram, and Twitter (note: Facebook is for the old people; it’s like thinking you are “hip” for sending mail via the Pony Express).
Maybe these stereotypes are accurate, and maybe they are not. Regardless, if that’s what your mind sees when the term “junior high students” is mentioned, you have unbiblical thinking. Consider just a few examples.
Daniel was around junior high age when he was deported to Babylon and enrolled in Harvard University, Babylon campus. At this prestigious school, and at his young age, he defied the orders of one of the most powerful men in the known world, all on the basis of his faith in God’s word.
Do you treat junior high students as if they have this capacity right now or as if they could, one day, after years of your innovative training, have this capacity?
At roughly age 13, God called Mary to carry the pregnancy of His Son, Jesus. While terrified of the plan, Mary humbly submitted, in the face of enormous judgment and negative pressure from her faith community. What’s more, by age 14, she had birthed Jesus and was raising Him.
Do you view your church’s training of junior high students in light of this reality? Or, do you hope they have cool overnighters, lots of pizza parties, epic ski trips, and maybe mix in some Jesus-talk as time permits?
According to Josephus, Samuel was about 12 when God first called him. He went and woke up the priest and persistently declared that God had spoken to him. He (1) heard God, (2) immediately obeyed, and (3) persistently told an authority figure what God had said.
When junior high students in your family or church tell you they have heard from God, do you listen to them in light of Samuel’s call or dismiss them as sleep deprived, video game addicted, deodorant lacking, adolescents?
We could go on, and in another post I probably will. Here’s the point: junior high students have been called and used by God for thousands of years. If you want to have a Biblical view of how to reach your city with the Gospel of Jesus, you’ll place a high value on training and sending junior high students.
The real question is this: will you uphold the Biblical view or the modern American view of junior high students?