Greasy French Fries

 Airplane Contest with Gator Shades
I was 17 years old when I first began running the JR. High Sunday School at my church. I was ready to make a difference in the lives of these young people the way that my youth leaders had done for me. I recruited parent volunteers, planned ridiculous games and prepped in-depth bible studies. I quickly found out that things do not always go according to plan. My parent volunteers quit and one of the girls pulled me aside one week to tell me that everyone in the group hated me.

  I had to figure out something else. The next week I decided to ditch my lesson plan and coordinated some rides to the local McDonalds. Skipping church that day and sharing greasy French fries was apparently the trick to winning approval of this particular group. From that point on, things were better.

  Twenty-two years later, I still use this experience to train the young youth workers on my team and shape my own approach.  So many adults in the lives of youth stop engaging or showing up.  We have to be willing to engage with them in the places that they feel comfortable rather than try to get them to come where we feel comfortable.  This is why, sometimes, hanging out in a McDonalds or a Starbucks can be more effective than getting them in a church building.  Often times, years later, if they run into a situation, they think of us - the ones who sat through those awkward moments and shared greasy fries with them.

Thanks for investing in us to the point where we have the time to spend in the fast food places, schools and coffee shops.  Think about a young person in your life that may just need you to skip out on a responsibility for one day and have you take them out for fries.  With that memory you may earn their trust for the future.

- Danny Ferguson

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