Last week, I helped chaperone a group of 35 middle schoolers for summer camp. I have to admit, I was a bit unsure of what to expect. I’m really used to working with high schoolers – not middle schoolers, so I guess I was expecting the smell of Axe spray mixed with body odor, and lots of hormones. There was some of that, to be sure, but the experience I left that week with was something that impacted me greatly.
This camp we went to was a new experience for me as it was a camp JUST for middle schoolers, so as we went to worship each day, I wasn’t really expecting much. My experience with a lot of middle schoolers (as well as high schoolers) was a lot of non-participation in worship. Either they would stand and look bored, look at their phones or fidget spinners, and maybe every once in a while mouth a word or two of the song. But not THIS group of middle schoolers. Sure, at the beginning of the week, everyone was a little timid when we began to sing for praise and worship – but by the end of the week…WOW!! I was blown away! These 11-15 year-olds were raising their hands, singing at the top of their lungs, praising God with reckless abandon! And it wasn’t “I’m gonna fit in by doing what everyone else is doing” praising…these kids were genuinely pouring their hearts out to their Creator.
Now, as someone who is generally a little more on the reserved side in worship (usually more of an “elbow flap” or “my baby is this big” on the Tim Hawkins worship chart [see chart below]), seeing these kids worshipping in this way lead ME to worship even more passionately! It truly was one of the most meaningful, worshipful experiences in my life. I’m so thankful to that group of middle schoolers for helping me to truly worship.
So often, as we get older, we get so weighed down by cares and troubles in this life, and we get so focused on ourselves, that we marginalize, or worse, completely forget that we were created to worship and glorify the King of Kings. And even though many of us have moved out of middle school and high school, we still enter into worship half-heartedly and worrying about how we’ll look to other people. Let us take a cue from these middle schoolers, and simply…wholeheartedly…worship our Creator. Let us, as David says in 2 Samuel 6:22, be willing to humble ourselves and be undignified if need be, to worship and glorify God.