7 Undeniable Characteristics Of (Most) Middle Schoolers

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By Ashley Bohinc,  the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange (The reThink Group, Inc.), and USA Executive Director of Carry 117- Ethiopia.

I have worked with middle school students in educational, athletic, and ministry settings for more than 14 years now. Although each context was uniquely different, there were still a few basic things about (most) middle schoolers that remained the same no matter what.

  1. They will be intensely interested in you. Do you have a boyfriend? Where do you buy your makeup? What are you eating? Where did you get those shoes? What position did you play in soccer? They may not show it at first, but the moment you let them in (even just a little), they want to be in a lot. They are stacking up questions in their minds, and if they aren’t courageous enough to ask, they are waiting for just a hint of permission from you to let them know they can ask. Of course this only counts for some of the time with middle schoolers. Other times, you could walk into the room in a clown suit and they wouldn’t even notice. #middleschool
  2. They exaggerate (and sometimes lie). Something happens at the 8th grade dance, and you find the girls huddled in a circle crying in the bathroom. If it’s trending, they are talking about it… non-stop. Friend drama is basically an all out brawl (with words or rumors). It thunders outside, and they act like they’ve never been in a storm before in their lives. They see a snake outside, and it’s most certainly trying to eat them. Their teacher is obviously the most unfair person on the whole planet. Oh, and they didn’t copy that homework or cheat on that test; they were just scratching their head! You get the point. It’s a phase full of all out exaggeration.
  3. YouTube is Gucci. According to many research studies, 80%-95% of Generation Z seeks advice through YouTube channels and videos. The most searched videos are about real stories, day-in-the-life videos, behind-the-scenes videos, or how-to videos. They want to know about relationships and dating, teen trends, advice on how to do new skills, and more. If they don’t know how, they go to YouTube. If they don’t know what it is, they go to YouTube. If they want to become famous, they go to YouTube. So basically, you should be on YouTube, too.
  4. What their friends think matters more than anything else. This is difficult, because as puberty begins to change them from the inside out, middle schoolers are desperately trying to fit in. Peer approval will always trump advice from adults. They can’t be seen wearing those pants, hanging with those boys, or walking around in public without makeup. The point is, students at this phase care more about what their peers say than anyone else. That’s why finding an influential student to lead the charge on a new initiative or event you are having will give you more success. Because if Sadie thinks it’s cool, everyone will think it’s cool.
  5. They push their parents away. Middle schoolers want freedom. They aren’t kids anymore, and when they are treated that way, they revolt. They pushback on everything from bedtime to chores to going places by themselves to social media. They want to make their own choices. The tricky part about this as a student leader is balancing earning their trust while still being for the parent. It is an art. Youth leaders have the privilege of standing in the gap between the middle schooler and the parent. But no matter what, always remember to let it be known that you are on the parent’s team.
  6. They are incredibly insecure about what is happening to their bodies. They feel like they are the only ones going through this thing called middle school. Normalizing what’s happening to and around them is imperative. If you are trying to get a middle school student to do something in front of their peers and they resist, there is probably a physical explanation for it. Sweat stains. Period leakage. Wrong bra. Gas. Food in their braces. Acne. Though it’s all normal, it feels isolating to them. So don’t push them.
  7. They want to have fun, but they want to be taken seriously. You can’t be boring, or they won’t want to be with you. They don’t want you to just allow them to have fun; they want you to have fun with them. At the same time, they want you to be real with them. They want to be taken seriously. They don’t want surface answers. They want direct, real explanations. When they tell you something that seems silly to you but real to them, you can’t laugh. You can’t dismiss it. You have to engage it with a matched level of seriousness to show them you care.

No matter where you’re working with middle schoolers, I think these seven things will stay true. It’s who they are in this phase, and it’s why they need people like you cheering them on and loving them as they figure it out.

Posted in Ministry Resource

LOCKAPALOOZA!!!!!!!!!!! AUG 17-18

LOCKAPALOOZA!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 17, 20187:00 PM – Saturday, August 18, 2018, 7:00 AM

Cost: Early Bird closes August 5 (paid in full): $65.00, Regular closes August 12 : $70.00, Late closes August 15 (ONLINE ONLY): $75.00

Lock-in at Blazer Tag in Austin

Following check-in at 7pm there will be entertainment, games, and pizza in the Oakwood Pavilion. Then at 11pm we travel to Blazer Tag to take over the facility from MIDNIGHT to 6AM! Parents pick up from Oakwood at 7am on August 18

Snacks and drinks will be provided throughout the night. Bring sleeping bags at your own risk.

Who can attend: Incoming 6th graders (2018-2019 school year) – outgoing 8th graders (2017-2018 school year)

REGISTER HERE

LOVECOLLIDE – Behind the Music

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Who Sounds Like Who
Taylor Swift  Selena Gomez

In today’s culture, to be “basic” is to be someone who is driven by mainstream behaviors and attractions. It’s the essence of fitting in, living from the baseline of acceptability.

Lauren and Brooke DeLeary aren’t having it.

The sisters, known collectively as the faith-forward pop duo LOVECOLLIDE, have spent their young lives bucking trends, shattering expectations, and defying norms – in essence, being anything but basic.

“We like to think outside the box and challenge others not to live the basic life,” Lauren said, “but to step out into the unknown and live out the life that God has called them to.” “That’s the theme, that’s the mission – an extraordinary life,” Brooke added. “Living in a way where you can never be labeled, like Jesus. Starting revival by being the light, being different, showing who Jesus is through us.”

Having started a band together when they were just tweens, Brooke and Lauren have watched God take something that began as a sibling side project and turned it into a poignant ministry. They’ve released several independent recordings together, toured across the U.S., done modeling and film gigs, and have shared the stage with some of Christian music’s biggest names. They’ve also been able to minister in Canada, something that’s particularly meaningful as tribal members of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in Muncey, Ontario.

It’s been a solid run so far. But with the release of their first major, nationally distributed album, Tired of Basic (The Fuel Music), LOVECOLLIDE is formally making their introduction to the larger music world and is poised to vastly expand their sphere of influence.

With their 10 new tracks, the DeLearys have crafted a soundtrack for the revolution–a revolution against boredom, mediocrity and status quo living. It’s a message that isn’t just for the band’s audience; it’s for the band, too.

Sonically, Tired of Basic finds LOVECOLLIDE at their musical peak, experimenting with new, cutting edge sounds that stand up to the best Top 40 radio has to offer. Armed with the prowess of new producers Riley Friesen (Family Force 5, Group 1 Crew) and Matt Dally (Superchick, Jamie Grace), LOVECOLLIDE has found its perfect match to achieve the sound they want to accompany their lyrics.

“We’ve always wanted to be current,” Lauren said. “It’s always been a journey for us, and always will be. I think our biggest goal with this new music and this new album was to create something that truly sounded like what we listen to on a daily basis, and what gets us going, and that’s dancy pop.”

Lyrically, the themes of Tired of Basic pull from some seismic ups and downs of the past two years.

Lauren, for one, dealt with the devastation of having to break off an engagement.

“I thought I was supposed to settle for that mediocre love, that my dreams for marrying my best friend and the love of my life were for someone else,” she said. “I’d just given up in a sense, but God radically changed my life when I broke off that relationship. Then God gave me Adam.”

That’s Adam Budnick, LOVECOLLIDE’s drummer, and Lauren’s fiancee.

Meanwhile, as hatred, racism and division have been at the forefront of public consciousness, the negativity took a very personal toll on Brooke, sending her into a suffocating depression.

“I lost myself for a long time,” she recalled. “I lost my connection with the world because I couldn’t handle all the negativity. I spent a lot of time in bed, detached.”

Tired, out of options and feeling the pit of despair getting deeper, Brooke decided to fast for the first time in her life. In that process, God began to speak.

“He said to me, ‘I can’t begin a new thing in your life when you still have old things,’” Brooke remembered. “‘I can’t fill you up when you’re still full with what was left over.’ That kind of turned things around.”

New music emerged. New partners surfaced. A new sound rose up. And the name LOVECOLLIDE took on a whole new dimension.

“We want to unite, love people, love each other, giving without expectation,” Brooke added. “With how we live our life, with our music, with everything–we want to slap people in the face with love!”

And LOVECOLLIDE primarily seeks to do that through their songwriting, which has grown and deepened on TIRED OF BASIC.

Powerhouse album opener “Awake” uses earworm hooks to address the concept that many people are alive in Christ, but are, as the DeLearys say, essentially sleepwalking through life. Fun crowd-pleaser “I Believe In Loud” is a declaration of boldly declaring the hope of Jesus to a hopeless world.

One song, “Breaking My Heart,” is a love song written about humanity from God’s perspective. Lauren and Brooke were able to draw emotions and language from their broken past relationships to bring language to the longing expressed in this downtempo pop jam.

On another, the emotional “I Don’t Want It,” LOVECOLLIDE shares about the things they learned as they questioned the band’s future.

“We were debating, kind of at the point of do or don’t with LOVECOLLIDE,” Brooke said. “We were calling out to God, saying, ‘I don’t want this if it’s without you.’ That song is about holding our dreams up to God.”

And the ethereal and introspective “Maybe” is perhaps the most vulnerable track on the new record, Lauren said, as it presents a raw, yet hopeful cry out to God about difficult times.

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Vacatoin Bible School – Middle School Serve

Are you ready to venture onto an uncharted island where kids survive and thrive? Come join us at Oakwood Church | New Braunfels July 16-20 from 9:00 am to Noon and get started on a VBS experience where kids are anchored in the truth that Jesus carries us through life’s storms.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL @ OAKWOOD 9AM to 12PM JULY 16-20

With over 1,000 children attending the OAKWOOD VBS this year, we have already been super busy around here!

It is amazing to see Oakwood come together and transform the Church into a FUN ENVIRONMENT geared for KIDS for a whole week!

Pray for God to continue to do a work during VBS, especially THURSDAY MORNING as we share the Gospel in a creative way.

WHAT DO MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS DO THIS WEEK?

MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS LEAD RECREATION GAMES WITH PASTOR BRANDON!

There may be opportunity for your student to be a Crew Leader during the week as well.

WE are ALL IN for VBS and have LUNCH HANGOUTS each day for Middle School Students.

 

 

Here are the main Bible Thoughts for each day:

Day 1 – When you’re lonely… Jesus Rescues

Day 2 – When you worry… Jesus Rescues

Day 3 – When you struggle… Jesus Rescues

Day 4 – When you do wrong… Jesus Rescues

Day 5 – When you’re powerless… Jesus Rescues

 

For kids entering Kindergarten thru kids that just completed 5th grade

PARTICIPANT & VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION