Preteen -

Small moments with big impact —

By Becca Haines

Josiah – a preteen from Macon, Missouri – was happy to join his friends at SuperStart this fall but wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of sharing his story as the event encouraged … His story was far from “normal.”

"Getting a chance to be a part of those conversations – no matter how small – is something our SuperStart team would never pass up. "

His youth leader – Clint Bowles, Crossroads Christian Church – said Josiah was one of his shy students in his small group of six preteens. As an adopted individual himself, Bowles said he could relate to Josiah’s foster kid distinction and was hoping he would share his story because it was a powerful one.

 

“I know Josiah came from an abusive home and has told us he’s thankful for the new parents God gave him, but he was still nervous to share his story with others,” Bowles said. “We had some extra time before Plug ‘n’ Play, and Patrick (Snow, CIY’s senior director of weekend events) was just sitting there on the edge of the stage talking to a whole swarm of kids. I told Josiah not to interrupt and realize that he’s pretty busy, but he went up to him and Patrick turned and gave him his full attention as he shared his story. I think after worship and hearing the message of sharing your story, Patrick listening to Josiah in that moment was huge. I think that’s one of the best things about SuperStart – when the stage actors and speakers make themselves available to the kids. It makes the kids feel valued and that is a big deal. Patrick was totally engaged, not shying away from any kid and that goes a long way. I notice this every year, and every year I’m thankful for it.”

 

Snow said conversing with the students is intentional because ministry doesn’t just happen on the stage at CIY events.

 

“A major goal of SuperStart is for the programming onstage to help spark spiritual conversations off stage between preteens and their adult leaders, and with each other,” he said. “Getting a chance to be a part of those conversations – no matter how small – is something our SuperStart team would never pass up. We’ve discovered that preteens getting to have those conversations with someone they’ve seen onstage sometimes creates a powerful moment that sticks with them for years to come. These moments can be more powerful than what they experienced on the stage.”

 

Josiah built up his courage again later that weekend and shared his story with his small group. Bowles said he talked about his mom’s poor choices, how much he prayed in his dark moments and how God provided him a new home and parents who show him love and support.

 

“Stories like Josiah’s are impactful to hear,” Bowles said. “By the end of the weekend, we had our arms around him and he knew he was one of us. God has moved a lot in this kid’s life. His foster parents – Kirk and Dennae Moore – prove what the Church is set up to do: love kids. God is using the Moores to love kids and show them they’re valued no matter what they’ve been through. God is also using SuperStart and the people around that program. I’m grateful for the way they partner with the Church to continue the conversations back home.”