Students Blog

Thanksgiving Grace

It was the first year Mackenzie was going to sit at the “grown-ups” table at Thanksgiving. She had aged out of the children’s table following the last round of babies born in the family and more space was needed at that table. As the oldest grandchild, she got to move to the dining table first. She was excited to sit with the adults—even though their conversation would probably be pretty dull. Anything would be better than trying to play peacemaker amongst her cousins all through the meal.

Mackenzie couldn’t wait until it was time for everyone to sit down together. This year there would be no need for fixing her plate early so she could sit with the other kids. Mackenzie could imagine it all. This year, she’d be passing the piping hot bowls of mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn, along with the enormous platter of turkey and dressing. The table would be filled with the family’s Thanksgiving favorites, along with a beautiful centerpiece, lit candles, and a beautifully set table—all on Nana’s treasured tablecloth that had belonged to her mother and grandmother before her.

Prepare Students for a Postmodern Culture

As you work with students, you are inevitably facing attitudes and actions from them that are being formed through culture—the shows they watch, the music they listen to, and the people they follow on social media. So how do you equip students to live with a Christian worldview and be the light of Christ in their post-Christian/postmodern lives?

We’ve all heard the popular Christian phrase reminding us that we are to “be in the world, not of the world.” This phrase comes from Jesus’ prayer in John 17, where the night before His crucifixion, He prays for His disciples, sending them out to make disciples and asking God to protect them from the evil one because they “are not of the world.” This is a perfect framework for teaching students to live sent for Christ, helping them see how they can be a part of culture without owning the culture. Here are a few tips to guide you:

WMU Names National Acteens Panel

National WMU has named four mission-minded teens with outstanding character and credentials to serve as missions influencers on the 2016 National Acteens Panel.

They are Sarah Golden of Eastern Hills Baptist Church in Pike Road, Ala.; Hannah Hutton of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas; Jemima Louis of Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston, Texas; and Ana Sandoval of Freeman Heights Baptist Church in Garland, Texas.

Acteens is WMU’s missions organization for girls in grades 7-12 to help them grow in their relationships with God and their peers. Together they live a missional lifestyle, develop leadership skills and become actively involved in ministry.

“Of all the things we learn, Acteens most importantly develop an ability to love,” said Louis. “The organization develops a love for serving, a love for others and a love for God.”

All four panelists have been involved with Acteens for six years and have demonstrated a commitment to service through the local church.

Hutton claims that being an Acteens member has helped her share the gospel within her sphere of influence.

Rethink Influence

If you were invited to be the leader of a small group at church or a task force at work, how would you respond? For some, the immediate response would be, “Oh no, I can’t do that; I’m not a leader!” Others might say, “Let me think [or pray] about it” and then come back with a similar response. Only on a rare occasion might someone respond immediately with “Wow! Really? I’d love to do that! Thanks for asking.”

Taylor Field reminds us in his book Upside Down Leadership: Rethinking Influence and Success that leadership is the ability to influence others. Regardless of how we respond to leadership opportunities, the truth is we all have the power to influence others. Think about the places we influence everyday: the decisions made in our families, our influence over policies when we go to the polls and vote, and the impact of our words each time we praise or tear down a friend or family member. All of these actions influence others and often reveal our ability—or lack of ability—to lead as we influence the world around us.

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