I’m the mother of two super-nerdy, owning-their-own-skin, teen-aged boys. In our house, TV shows like Eureka, Battle Star Galactica and Star-Trek are constants on our DVR. I get the sci-fi, cerebral mind-set. I was not “into” those things prior to raising my boys with my super-cute, super-geeky hubby, but because he valued those things, I learned to value and enjoy them.
I’m also a middle-school teacher, and let me tell ya, I ROCK that house. Not because it’s about me, but because it’s about them. Each day, I meet them at the door, look them in the eyes, shake their hands, and ask them about their day so far. Why? Because teenagers are super ego-driven. They need a buy-in, and tapping into their “biz-ness” is the quickest route to their engagement.
This is really not ground-breaking news. It was Paul that said he had become all things to all people so that he might save some. So as long as I’m good with God when doing it, I’ll do whatever it takes to draw others to Christ.
As a small-group leader for 7th-grade chicas at my church, I intentionally look for ways to connect with them. We recently did the ol’ promoting grade levels thing, and I needed a way to connect fast, so I thought: PHONE. As they came to our spot, I handed them a card with my social info: FaceBook, Twitter, Texting# and had them take out their phones to start connecting with me. It was great to see their faces light up as I made my first post on their wall or texted back a goofy picture of myself. Immediate buy-in connection.
That Sunday, we had just started a series on dating, and I knew that while these girls were definitely at the “liking” phase, what they really needed to focus on at this stage of game was the skill of getting to know a person—a skill they needed to develop sooner rather than later. So, we had a speed-dating, get-to-know-you-rotation where they learned to state what was important to them and ask the kind of questions that reveal a person’s true heart. It was cool to hear the sound of their giggles as they shared with new and old friends. Immediate personal connection.
While not every Sunday has a technology application or an out-of-the-box activity, every Sunday does have a you-are-important-to-me experience. I am intentional in my interactions with them because the Lord is intentional in His plan to redeem a lost world. These kids are my world, and I am willing to go where no Sunday school teacher has gone before to make sure that they live long and prosper.