Our church has loved and guided a student named Dawson Stuehmer for six years. Though he always struggled with his behavior – and oftentimes I think kids can be labeled by society – the Church continuously served this student as a place where he was welcomed and included. It’s because of that inclusion he will be one of those kids who never takes compassion for granted because he’s been shown that love of Jesus Christ. Evidence of this was shown this year with his remarkable improvement. Not only Dawson’s behavior, but his maturity and spiritual growth has taken some huge strides in recent months. These changes shined while we attended SuperStart.
When Dawson realized it was going to be his last year to attend SuperStart as a student, he earned the money himself to get there. He did jobs for people in the community to earn his spot in our group, and really stepped up and matured. I think Dawson’s change affected the whole group because the rest of the kids felt comfortable around him and he was friendly to everybody. Imagine how excited we were when it came time for the preteens to tell their stories and Dawson was eager to be one of the first ones.
Not all youth leaders get to see this kind of growth. We know how blessed we are to see his excitement, his great strides and efforts to be a better Christian and student.
It’s because of special moments like this that our group always loves SuperStart. The format of program is designed for preteens – it makes them feel loved and valued and speaks to them on their level. This year’s theme – which focuses on conquering fears in order to tell your story – is so powerful yet so simple. It was so cool how SuperStart encouraged students to use social media to witness to others. The kids were so excited, and their stories turned out so cool. Everyone was willing to share, excited for what’s next and ready to share their stories back home. It’s truly preparing them for sharing the Gospel.
Maggie Gray is the director of children’s ministry for First Christian Church of Florissant, Missouri.