This past Wednesday I had the great privilege of teaching our Junior High students at our Youth Group meeting. Really I had a blast. I’m not certain the kids learned that much but we sure had fun. The time I spent with these young people made me so thankful for the leadership of our Youth Ministry and the parents of these great kids.

When I started my teaching career in 1974 I taught Junior High science and math. So many veteran teachers told me that teaching Junior High was an assignment from hell. As for me, I loved it. Once you got past some of the quirkiness of that age, I enjoyed so much these kids.

I taught Junior High for two years and then took a teaching position as a High School science teacher and never taught Junior High again. When our family moved to the Cedar Valley I substitute taught while working to plant our church. Much of my “sub” jobs were in Junior High and then I landed a job after school as the Head 7th Grade Football Coach at Holmes Junior High in Cedar Falls.

Understand that all of my coaching experience had been as a High School Varsity Coach. I was not all that prepared to coach Junior High since I didn’t understand that you were starting from the very beginning. I remember the first day on the field, my 7th grade team came trotting out of the locker room and I had to send two of my players back into the locker room since they were wearing their athletic supporters on the outside of their football pants. Most of them didn’t know how to wear their pads. I had to teach them that their helmets were not to be used as stools to sit on. When I said, “Take a knee boys,” they began to grab each other’s knees.

It started out wild and wacky but because they wanted to learn, by the end of the season, they looked like a real football team. I coached at Holmes for four years and then turned the program over to my son, Josh. By that time, we had a Junior High Football dynasty.

We were winning most of our games, not because we had any better athletes or because our kids had better coaches. I think we were winning so many games because we were focused on just teaching our team to play the game the way the game was meant to be played.

I believe our children and student ministries are doing this in the game of life. I see our kids are being taught to live the life in Christ the way it was meant to be lived. And those that have Dads and Moms who are working with their kids in developing their understanding of what it means to be a Christian are making great strides. They are learning the fundamentals. They are being taught the power of the Holy Spirit; the blessing of grace and a life lived in the Kingdom of God.

These wonderful young people represent our future. All that we can pour into their lives is an investment into our future.

Thank you KidZone leaders and teachers. Thank you Youth Group directors and Small Group leaders.

Thank you parents who are taking seriously your role as the principle discipler of your children.

We are blessed!