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Thursday, August 7, 2014

3 Southern Gals Link-Up: What awk-sauce teenagers have taught me

I had mentioned last Friday that I would fill ya'll in on our youth group situation. Hunter and I have been youth leaders for a couple years now and have absolutely loved every minute of it! People think we're rather strange for wanting to spend time with teenagers. My reasons:
  1. You were weird once too.
  2. In their most awkward and vunerable times in life, the last thing anybody needs to do is toss these teens to the side to let them "work it out themselves." Give me a break.
So when Hunter and I found out that a committee had been formed to find the interim youth pastor, and had been formed with the intentions to not include us, I was furious. I wept, I wanted to shake those people, and I prayed. I absolutely prayed for our kids.

In this post originally, I wanted to just lay it all out there. I wanted to smear the sin that is going on within that church for all to see, because the good Lord knows that these folks have never had to answer to their transgressions.

But then I realized (I fully believe God was showing me), that that is not who I am. That is not who Jesus was or is. So I will not be smearing their sins but rather I will be praying for them. Hunter and I will be moving forward because we know that God has big plans for us! We know that our time with this church and youth group has come to an end - and THAT'S OKAY!!

It's okay for change.

I was inspired by my dear friend, Sara Beth, and her post the other day. Fun fact: Sara Beth and her husband were youth leaders with us. They're also the one leading the way in ministry in our community. She talks about what being a youth leader has taught her over the last several years. With mine and Hunter's leaving of the youth program, I felt it only necessary to look back on what these amazing teenagers taught me. And yes, teenagers can be amazing if you give them the chance:
  • They're going to be weary of you at first. Hey, these kids are used to people giving up on them.
  • Be transparent - when they see that you have flaws, you become their greatest source of hope.
  • Don't parent them - that's not your job.
  • While you're not parenting them, still don't let them do as they please. Guide them as a holy friend would.
  • Let them get to know you personally - how many siblings do you have? What did you want to be when you were their age? What did you eat for lunch? Teens crave relationships.
  • Always hug them. Whether they want it or not, give them the biggest hug you can because for many, that's all they ever get in their lives.
  • Understand that these teens come from all walks of life. Be respectful of their situations and don't always assume that their home lives are even remotely good.
  • Love unconditionally. Love as Jesus loved. These teenagers are the future of the community.
  • Be honest - I had a youth ask if Hunter and I are living together (not married). I answered yes, and we went into a long discussion of "Just because you live together, doesn't mean you have to have sex. It doesn't mean that you have to act like married people already. And yes, just because you live together doesn't mean that we don't have our problems too."
  • Go to their sporting events, graduations, plays... Be a part of these kids lives!!
Those are just a few of many things that we have learned from our teenagers and I wanted to share them with ya'll on this #tbt link-up. We have loved the memories that were created and the relationships that have been formed.

And these poor kids, they think they'll never have to deal with us again. Boy are ya'll wrong! Luckily, we're actually going to be a part of these kids lives even more, but in a different way. Rather than being confined to the walls of the church to only see them, we're planning on partnering with them to go out into the community to do ministry. We will be at those games, recitals, and graduations. FBCQ youth - it has only just begun my friends.


  1. Love your heart, Kelly! Those are all wonderfuls points and I'm excited that you'll still be in their lives after all of this. Praying for y'all, the church and the kids!

  2. Kelly yes this is SO wonderful! I love these points! I would also add that teens pick up on absolutely everything and see right through fake.

    You are so great, Kelly!

  3. These are great tips, Kelly - I started working with Young Life over here and they all apply. Those kids are amazing! Some have very tough lives indeed. I think they respond to adults being plain and silly too, letting them laugh at us in skits and such :)

  4. :) You guys are awesome. I say it all the time but I truly mean it. Yes, you gave some great points but I love that you are focusing on moving forward and the work that God has in store for you vs. the tough situation at the previous church. That cannot be easy but I'm proud of you!!!