By Chris Lassiter
After pelting me with a barrage of whip cream pies, the group of teenagers I took to summer camp knew exactly how to clean me up….The dunk tank.
I trudged back to our dorm room, soggy but happy. I hopped in the shower and got ready for bed.
And that’s when it happened. A big football-playing teen in my cabin, nicknamed after an armored truck, asked me about predestination.
Really? Just a minute ago, he was busy playing Cam Newton with whip cream footballs. Now he wants to have a theological conversation.
I learned something that night.
- Once you earn the trust of the kids, they’re eager to talk about spiritual questions. And, trust me not only do they have questions, but they expect you to know your stuff.
So how do you prepare yourself to answer hard questions? Become a lifelong learner! It benefits me greatly, but it also helps me help the kids I work with. Lifelong learning means basically doing two things:
1. Make the most of your time.
I’m a big picture kinda guy. At the beginning of the year, I pick 12 books I want to read based on the recommendations of people I respect. I make sure a few of the books are in areas where I need to grow.
Then, I try to get through one book a month by dividing the number of pages by the days in the month. It usually averages about seven pages – 10 or 15 minutes a day.
Most times the books aren’t my favorite subjects, but I remind myself that it may help the kids I’m working with and push through.
2. Make the most of your resources.
My wife and I have five kids. That’s a whole lot of kids. In this season of life, I am not packing up and going to seminary, so I created Pancake University (unaccredited, so don’t apply). While making the kids’ breakfast in the morning, I’ll listen to a podcast.
For instance, I once listened to a UYWI podcast on juvenile prison ministry (“Starting a Juvenile Hall Ministry: Leading Small Groups on the Inside” by Steve Lowe). I had never even set foot inside of a juvenile center. Though, a few years later, that podcast came in handy, when I had the opportunity to do juvenile prison ministry.
On other days, I may listen to a sermon or seminary class that helps me understand Leviticus a little better. The point is we live in the information age. Let’s steward that responsibility well for the Kingdom.
Commit to being a lifelong learner. The kids you work with will thank you for it.
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