A Letter From Your Child’s Small Group Leader
If we haven’t met before, hi! My name is Erika Hussey and I am on staff at Foothill Church. I get to work with the incredible Family Ministries staff and am a Jr. High girl’s small group leader. As we launch into the fall, I started thinking of some things I wanted to share with you. Let me give you a sneak peek at what the next several years of your child’s life is going to look like! But first I wanted to share a bit more about me and my journey here.
I have been in family ministry for over a decade. Whew! I started off as a volunteer with lower elementary, then led worship for toddlers, began co-leading a group of middle school girls, worked on staff as an elementary lesson teacher, wrote scripts, led a kids choir, directed worship for the student ministry, coordinated volunteers, and organized closets. I’ve changed countless diapers, organized summer events, prayed for students struggling with classes, redirected kids acting out, grieved with those who lost a loved one, and rejoiced as students graduated. I have seen every milestone of a child’s life over the past 10 years and one thing rings true: God has been faithful through it all! Ministry is a hard job; juggling many different hats. And although I don’t have any children of my own, I have seen God work through every family I have had the privilege of walking alongside and partnering with in showing their child the truth of the gospel.
With that said, the anticipation of the fall and all things new comes with hesitation because there have been many families before you that never make that first step. So my hope is that by being honest with you, you will see the heart and mission behind why we so desperately want to see your child in Foothill Students.
Don’t skip out!
As a leader, one of the most difficult parts of ministry can be when a student’s extracurriculars take precedence over youth group. You may know the formula “trust equals consistency over time”.
We want our students to trust us. To know that they can come to us for anything. But if we only get to see that student once a month, or once a YEAR, that trust never gets a chance to mature.
And it’s not the trust between the leader and student that suffers, it’s also the trust between peers. One of our goals in Foothill Students is that your child would find a community of believers that they can rely on, much like you as parents do in Growth Groups. Please don’t negate the importance of church community for your child OR yourself. And parents, let’s be honest for a second: the likelihood of your kid becoming a professional athlete is bleak. But, the chances of them losing their faith when they go off to college is astronomical. In fact, according to a study done by LifeWay, two-thirds of students walk into college having walked away from their faith. Let’s get our priorities straight and begin to build spiritual habits first and foremost.
Invest in relationships
Our volunteers are AMAZING! No, you don’t understand. They go above and beyond every week to make sure that your child knows that they are loved by a God who wants to know them and have a relationship with them. How cool is that?! Our small group leaders are RELENTLESS. They show up every Wednesday ready to invest and present in the moment. But they also show up randomly throughout the week, checking up on students and letting them know that they are being prayed for. They’re not just volunteers, they are mentors for your child who are pouring scripture- truths into them week after week. Get to know these people! Allow them to invest in your child. Especially as your child begins to become more independent in their middle school and high school careers, it is beneficial to have someone your child can turn to for advice that you also trust.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret — when a student comes to me with a frustration about their parents, I usually turn them right back around and tell them to talk to you! Leverage the partnerships that we are providing to allow your child every opportunity to see clearly the truths of the Gospel and seek answers to their (and your!) tough questions.
Use the resources provided
Having said all this, your child’s teacher or small group leader can’t do all the heavy lifting.
The time I get with my group of middle school girls in the whole year equates to about 40 hours. Your time with your child is about 3,000 hours!
And during this unique season the scale is tipped even more in your favor! Of COURSE we want to help your child grow in their faith, but at the end of the day, you are the primary discipler. Encourage your child in the development of their spiritual habits. Use the resources that we provide to help guide them. Every Wednesday before Impact we text you questions for the ride home. USE THEM! Engage in meaningful conversation with your kids that will help them see that faith is important to you. They will model what they see, not what they hear. You are an example to them. What they see in you they will do themselves.