Back to School

student leader

Remember yourself as a teenager on the eve of the first day of school. Your clothes picked out and hanging up with coordinating socks and shoes. (For me it was always mismatched Punky Brewster style.) Your backpack loaded. Your trendy new binder with that new-car smell filled with college-ruled paper.

You go to bed but lie awake. Thinking. About friends you’re eager to see. Folks you’re not so eager to see. About new friends, new classes, and walking the halls. About try-outs. About…all of it.

You look over at your alarm clock. Only one minute has passed. Sigh. Your brain just won’t shut off and go to sleep.

Not much has changed for today’s teenagers. There is a lot of anticipation and worry. It all seems to really hit you on that eve of the first day of the school year.

On top of all that, there is the anticipation of facing spiritual struggles. Maybe students participated in missions trips, attended youth camps, volunteered at VBS, and served through ministry projects all summer. They have a newfound closeness with the Lord that they have enjoyed developing all summer long.

Now they enter back into the routines of life where all that spiritual closeness is challenged. It can be so easy to fall back into the old patterns after having moved away from them over the summer.

So what can we do to prepare students and encourage them to continue seeking the Lord?

Help students live out Scripture by speaking (or singing) God’s truth.

Speaking truth into all these kinds of school-related anxieties can truly restore the balance that they enjoyed during the summer. Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (NIV). There are so many songs that sing about the goodness of God. Encourage students to choose a statement or song they can hold close to their heart as they head back to the school routines.

Help students live out Scripture by praying to God.

First Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Many teenagers feel that they have no one to talk to about what is going on in their lives. That points to a deep desire that we all have to be able to share our innermost feelings and struggles. No one person will ever be able to satisfy that desire—only God can do that. I’m sure we have all had that feeling after praying about something where the burden is lifted—we physically feel lighter—just because we took the time to pray. Encourage students to pray to God whenever they have any feelings of worry and anxiety.

Help students live out Scripture by sharing joy and kindness.

Encourage students to memorize Scripture about being joyful and kind. Remind your students that by committing Scripture verses to memory now they will be able to share with someone in need later. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” When students find a chance to share something uplifting and encouraging with someone in their circle of influence, they have a great opportunity to influence someone for Christ. A joyful smile and a kind word are tools of living on mission for God. They can make a major difference. Encourage students to share their joy and speak with kindness.

Libby Quigg enjoys writing for WMU and teaching children to play guitar. Her husband, Jesse, is also a musician and teaches high school students. They homeschool their three kids—Veni, Ocean, and Atlas. Libby’s passion is to connect with people—students and children as well as their families. She loves to encourage young moms.

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