Doing any speaking is tough. Sometimes just having a conversation is hard, but speaking in front of a crowd is always difficult. One of the hardest and yet most rewarded group of individuals to speak to are Jr Highers. You fight for their attention the whole time, hope that you are not going over their heads, and yet get to see the look on their faces when they “get it.” One of the biggest pieces of advice I always get from others about speaking at camp is “keep it simple.” Which makes sense. The young Jr High mind still thinks in black and white terms and has yet to develop that abstract grey thinking.
This week I will be spending my time with about 200 Jr Highers in Indiana speaking at a camp talking about what it means to be a Christian. It is always challenging for me to speak with Jr Highers, I like to use some abstract thoughts at times and can even get a little deep with using greek words etc…one of the most challenging times for me was teaching Jr Highers for a year. I was the their Bible teacher, and daily had to find ways to relate to them but also call them to start thinking past the concrete and into the tension (see look at that right there, what does that even mean right? tension….thinking past concerete?).
As I prepared for camp I continually reminded myself that I was speaking to Jr Highers and not to the readers of my blog or college students. About half way through last week I realized something. I discredit the Holy Spirit. In my effort to keep things simple I start to speak for the Holy Spirit. And instead of letting the Holy Spirit speak I try to dumb things down so no one will be confused. After looking through scripture and studying the teachings of Jesus I really felt convicted that I was not let the Holy Spirit work, or at least I was discrediting the work, and was taking it upon myself to explain everything, to be perfect, and to have everything spelled out.
Unfortunately, that is not how scripture is not laid out. It is actually the opposite of spelling things out. Instead, it challenges you to go beyond mere words and into the development of your heart and the transformation of your mind.
This week at camp I am working on letting the Holy Spirit work rather then myself trying to do all the work and explaining. Normally it is believed that Jr Highers are not deep thinkers, that you have to keep everything surface level, and that they are not interested. But this week I am going to let the Holy Spirit work on their heart and sit back and watch the reaction on their face and the development of their heart.