This year, our Wednesday night senior teens are focusing on their breathing. No, not the taking in and exhaling of air, but the taking in of God’s Spirit and the going out in service and love. Each month, we are spending three nights learning about Christ and the impact He has on our lives. We are looking at how He served, how He loved, and the compassion He showed toward others. On the fourth week of the month, we are providing opportunities to get our students out in some type of service. In September, they planned a kickball game for the kids that live in Chili Commons. They went door to door the week prior to hand out invites, and then on September 25, they spent the evening playing kickball with the students at Hubbard Park. As a bonus to the night, Buzz Mantegna provided chili and hot drinks for the families. The result of this simple event has been that two families are now coming to Wednesday night dinners, and six kids are attending our Wednesday night programs. What a joy to be a part of something God is doing! Pray for the teens this month as they go back to Chili Commons on October 30 to do a reverse trick or treating event.
Leaving a Long Legacy
This month’s highlighted volunteer is Sean Hardy. Sean is currently finishing his last semester of college as he does his student teaching. Sean graduated from Churchville Chili High School and from Pearce Teens in 2009. While Sean graduated, he never left, and for that, I am (and numerous teens are) thankful. Sean has actively participated as a leader with Pearce teens for over four years. He has helped lead trips to Algonquin, and Poland, and countless Wednesday night activities. The road to leadership for Sean wasn’t always easy. As a young teen, he had to work hard to find his identity and to find a safe place where he was accepted and loved. Sean will tell you he found that on a Pearce Retreat, where he was given the nickname “Seany Love” – receiving that name brought instant notoriety and helped him bond quickly with the other students. Sean’s investment in students is his way of passing on this same experience to our teens today; teens who desperately want to be loved and accepted, and who will do whatever it takes to get those two needs met. This picture was taken at a Jason Aldean concert this summer. Sean was a student I invested in, Aaron Curtis is a leader in training who Sean has invested in, and my son, Jake, is a student who Aaron is pouring his life into. Each one disciples one. This year, Sean, by virtue of his investment in Aaron Curtis, is now a spiritual grandfather. If you see “Seany Love” this month, thank him for continuing to give of his time and heart to teens.
Uh Oh, Guess What Day it is?
While the mascot of the Pearce Teens is Monty Moose, perhaps it should be a camel. Each week our teens come together for our Wednesday night programs, and inevitably I hear “Mike, Mike, Mike, Guess what day it is? Hump Dayyyyy whoop whoop!” The recent Geico commercials have brought excitement to many about it being Wednesday. For our teens, that excitement is because of the chance to come for an hour and half to a place where they can laugh, play, feel safe, and hear a bit about the God who loves them. As many of you may know, in January, I made the switch from working directly with the senior teens to working with the junior teens. It has been a bittersweet move, in some ways, due to the fact that I have developed some great relationships with the senior high group. However, I have come to love the junior high group. These young folks are easily engaged, they are full of questions and energy, and we think at about the same level. Each week, I have the pleasure of running with these students, talking to them about life, and giving them pointers and encouragement in the development of their spiritual walks. “Guess what day it is?” gets me excited, not because it means the week is half over, but rather because it means I get to hang out with some of the coolest people I know.