by Bruce Jameson
A few years ago I decided to focus my efforts at St. Lukes on Student Ministries.
I didn’t really have a plan, so I thought it’d be best to sit in the back of the room,
listen, and watch until I figured out where my place would be. It turns out that
sitting in the back of the room, listening and watching (along with going on
mission trips) was the best place for me all along. Any good I can do comes
from there. Now I’m an Adult Leader, a title I am proud to carry. It’s the best job
at the church.
Most Sunday mornings I am in the Student Ministry area, but I stay on
the periphery. I hang out with them, but only “sort of.” I don’t jump into
conversations or get too aggressive. My position lets me watch for newcomers,
or anyone that has the “I’m Lost!” look. We adults with our fixed routines tend
to forget how hard it is to enter a room of new people. Kids have to do this far
more often than adults, but that doesn’t mean it’s easier for them. So I watch
for those that are hesitant or alone. If the situation seems right, I’ll approach
and say: ”Hi, I’m Bruce. I’m an Adult Leader. Who are you?” and then listen.
They will say their name and I will follow up with “What do you do?”
It’s a strategic move on my part. It’s easier for me to remember that a kid plays
soccer (“What position? Midfielder?”) or dances (“Modern? Jazz? Ballet?”) or
rides horses (“English or Western?”) than his or her name! And every student
would rather talk about his or her passion than what school they attend or what
grade they are in.
My other joy in being an Adult Leader is mission trips and retreats. Each day on
a mission trip or retreat is worth a month of Sunday school. I can build things so
I will lead a construction team. I have watched 9th grade girls master a pickaxe
and attack the ground as if they were fighting against a shield wall. I have seen
high school boys stop talking about video games and stop testing out off color
comments (that they think I can’t hear) and repair rotten decks and floors and
build wheelchair ramps. These successes are awesome.
Junior and Senior High students want to be themselves. They want support
and they want affirmation. I try to simply be there. They see me, they know
I’m around and I’m interested in them. As I get to know them I make great
friendships. I like to follow along with their lives because they are interesting
people. Their rate of change is so much faster than mine. I would be happy to
grow in my faith and outlook as fast as they do.
I’m very blessed to get to spend time with them.