“Middle School.” Just saying the name sounds like something you wouldn’t want to be a part of. Somewhere in between, not quite there, awkward, weird. Despite the bad rap that comes with the stage of life, the girls I met this weekend gave me a lot of hope.
They were part of First Baptist’s annual Disciple Now, a weekend of rapid paced fun, fellowship, family, and faith. Todd Smith rolled six months of worship services and Bible study into one weekend to learn how to be a faith family on mission. We had 7-8th grade girls…intentionally. We can have a “boys weekend” any time we want. So why not girls? Our first grader, Drake, had never experienced anything quite like this. We traded our 7th grader Parker to someone else for the weekend and received a blessing 14 times over. We were called the “Taco Belles”….complete with tutus, sombreros, and enough glitter to fill a few vacuums.
Led by three phenomenal college young women, these girls talked about the things church people are supposed discuss– Jesus, salvation, family, death, forgiveness, ghosts, demons, hell, Pentecost, heaven, parents, loneliness, rejection, and fear. If you can’t talk about these things with Christians, then who else can you turn to? We ran, played, ate, giggled. I even got some sleep (not sure about them).
Because they come from so many different schools and backgrounds, weekends like these are like the glue of life. They make church sticky. Despite our expectations of the weekend, we had no drama or trauma, just lots of love and grace. After spending a weekend with 7th-8th grade girls, I’m convinced it’s ok to be in the middle. Sign me up; we are empowered.