Summer/Fall is much easier ministry than Winter/Spring... there I said it.
During the second half of the school year...
...I have more counseling appointments with students and parents
...Our weekly attendance almost always takes significant dip.
...I wrestle at some point personal doubt on my calling and ministry capabilities.
...I see solid students become apathetic.
There's two upcoming events that can really tear into the efforts of parents, mentors, and youth leaders investment into the spiritual lives of students...
1. Spring Break - Spring Break has basically become the most anticipated High School holiday. Around here, everyone goes to Florida. The basic point of Spring Break for many High School Students... forget everything, have fun, come back with the best story. For many, this week involves no parents or significant chaperone, partying, and hooking up. I remember standing on the strip of Panama City one Spring Break evening in 2001 while our Youth Choir was loading their bus. The booze was out, the party was rockin', and all I could picture was the massive amounts of students about to make decisions they would regret for the rest of their lives.
2. Prom - Just after Spring Break, our Gym on Wednesday Night could officially be labeled a "meat market" for some students. If you are a Junior or Senior, you have to find your prom date. The goal of prom for most girls... get dressed up and have a dreamy and romantic night. For guys... drive a really cool car, and have a good looking girl on your side. In both cases, the temptation runs high to make this an "adult" night and do something to make it a night to remember. For many, the night will not be forgotten, but it will be looked back on with regret.
Are you depressed yet?
Are you thinking I'm a prude?
Are you saying I need to cut these two events some slack?
Okay, I will. I don't think either events should be boycotted or avoided. I don't think either are evil at their core. I don't even think the point of the two events are bad. I think that these two events are prime time for students' faith to be put to the test. I think these two events are prime opportunities for parents, mentors, youth leaders to engage in conversation with students to have them critically think through how they are going to choose to live . Some of the questions to be asked...
What/who is your accountability?
Where are you drawing lines between fun and unhealthy choices?
What is the point behind you taking part in this?
Why are you going with him/her?
How are you going to have fun while still honoring Jesus Christ?
Winter/Spring ministry is tough... I said it at the beginning, but that doesn't make it worse. In fact, I would say some of these speed bumps (both little and big) are the points when you find out....
...who's pursuing religion, and who's seeking relationship with Jesus.
...who's looking for the label Christian, and who's seeking to be a Christ Follower.