Skip to main content

an 8th grader's goals for a relationship with God

In the short time I've been hanging out with teens at Stillwater, I've learned how interesting it is to try to measure spiritual growth. Are the things we put all our time and effort in showing up as growth in children, teens and adults?

The more realistic revelation is understanding our place in the seed planting process. I'll get to see spiritual growth in some teens. I'm deeply thankful for those moments. But here's the kicker...I'm getting to see spiritual growth because several people invested in this teen long before I got to hang out with them.

For others, their contact with our church is the first time they'll hear that God is crazy in love with them. A pastor in 10 years might get to see major spiritual growth in that person.

I think this is one of the subtle awkward truths of ministry. We can't will growth to happen. But we sure work like we can. We should simply love people, give them resources & practices to connect with God, listen, tell the truth of the Gospel and care for them. Then we watch the Trinity go to town. I want to live my life in such a way that I constantly remember my place in the process.

All that to say I wanted to share something cool with you. :)

One of our 8th graders texted me last night saying she had a list of goals for her relationship with God. This wasn't something I challenged her to do. Made this list on her own...

Goals for My Relationship with God
  • To spend more time with God in general
  • To totally devote my life to God
  • Sometimes I feel like I only have a relationship with God because He's my ticket out of Hell and into Heaven. I don't want to be like that at all. I want to be in a relationship with God because He can use me as a witness and can make my life sooo much better.
  • I want to have a fair, unselfish relationship with God. I do NOT want God to be like my good luck charm that I only have contact with when I need something or have a problem. I want Him to be my BEST friend that I go to with everything. I want to crave conversations with God.
  • I want to be totally focused on God and make decision based on what He thinks
  • I want to start praying every night again before I go to bed
  • I want to start reading the Bible daily. There's so much that I don't know about it
  • I want my life to totally revolve around God instead of myself
Celebrate the life situations where you see God at work. The more we tell those stories, the more we're aware that God is present in more situations than we ever thought.


Comments

John Meunier said…
What a cool thing to get to see happen. Thank you for sharing this.

Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…