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Things I Learned from Leading Worship for Jr. High Retreat

This past weekend I had the privilege of being asked to lead worship for a retreat weekend for our church’s Junior High ministry (“The Vibe”) at a campground/retreat centre in Muskoka.

Now I’m turning 60 in a month, and to think that these kids (and their leaders) would want ME to lead worship was a honour.  I had a fantastic time, and would gladly do it again, but being around nearly 60 kids from Grade 8 to 10, and “Jr. Leaders” up to Grade 12, definitely taught me a few things over the 48 hours I was with them.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

  1. I really love these kids!
  2. They have way more energy than I.
  3. Jr. High’s can, and will, sing worship songs loud and heartfelt!
  4. I cannot climb a rock climbing wall if my life depended on it!  In fact, I couldn’t even hang there!!
  5. Everything needs to be explained at least three times.
  6. Everything needs to be explained.
  7. All explanations need to be repeated.
  8. You must repeat your explanations.
  9. Hygiene is not high on the priority list for most Jr. High’s.
  10. They have way more energy than I do!
  11. Always bring a pillow and towel.
  12. Buffets are not a safe place for kids who like to lick spoons and put them back in the serving bowls.
  13. Chefs can get quite angry when they lick the spoon.
  14. Chefs aren’t really all that pleased when they stick their finger in the fruit spread bowl either, two meals later.
  15. I can still yell “Quiet!” louder than the best of them.
  16. Tylenol is my friend.
  17. Cardboard, duct tape, garbage bags and rope don’t generally make good sleds.  But with the right design they will win you a prize.
  18. Jr. Highs like their marshmallows burnt to a crisp over the open fire, or stuck to the floor with spaghetti sticking out (don’t ask!), not golden brown.
  19. They have way more energy than I do, and they can stay up way later than I do.
  20. They sometimes have problems finding their rooms at night.
  21. You must repeat any explanations at least three times.
  22. Even the smallest of them have feet that are big enough to knock over a guitar in an area of the room where they’ve been told is out of bounds.
  23. You must repeat any explanations at least three, or more, times.
  24. You must never leave a microphone on in a room unattended by adults, even for a moment.
  25. Coats are optional when outdoors in winter.
  26. You must check the doors and lights in your van after the kids exit it.
  27. You must carry jumper cables at all times.
  28. You cannot jumpstart another car from a Ford Transit (the batteries are buried in a place only a fully qualified mechanic can get to).
  29. You must have friends that will drive 15 minutes back, to give you a jump start when the campground staff can’t, due to insurance liability reasons.
  30. McDonalds on Hwy 48 near Beaverton Ontario is the busiest McD’s on the planet on a Friday night during retreat season.
  31. Kids can do things that no adult can ever do — like walk up to, and touch the nose of a wild deer.  (Still can’t believe that one!)
  32. A lot of these kids have a faith that would put a lot of adults to shame.
  33. Retreats are wonderful events in the lives of these kids (and me!).
  34. I love these kids!!



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