The New Me: Part 5, “Student Leaders”

Welcome to Part 5 of The New Me. Get caught up on the rest of the story! Click to view Part 1, Part 2Part 3 & Part 4.

Two years had passed since I taught my first 6th grade class as SCS. But it was time to say goodbye to elementary. I found out over the summer that I would be moving up to the secondary level. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I love working with older kids. I find their reasoning skills are more defined, and they don’t always take everything at face value. If you’re not 100% genuine with them . . . they see it. I also have a burden for them because their level of independence is catching up with their decision-making abilities. If they do not have a firm foundation in God’s truth, they will flounder and fall once the world is turned loose on them. Side Note: You’re not turning your kids loose on the world. You’re sending them out into the battlefield. I guarantee you the Army didn’t send a bunch of new recruits to storm Osama Bin Laden’s bunker. The commanding officers knew the enemy would destroy them. So why do we send off our unprepared young people into the world as if the world is the one who should watch out?! But I digress.

My new semester lineup included JH Bible, JH Speech, 9th grade English, 11th grade Economics, SH Speech, and Yearbook. I also took on the upcoming 9th grade homeroom. As the year progressed I was reminded every day why I love my job. I had the opportunity to take things like diagramming sentences, Jevon’s principle of diminishing marginal utility, and proper voice projection and apply it directly to my students’ lives. God’s Word came alive in discussions of friendship, moral tone, insatiability, and persuasion. Side Note: If you can’t find God in the mundane, you will struggle to find Him anywhere.

This continued for 3 years, and every summer my school room became a camp ground. But during second semester of my 5th year (3rd year teaching high school), the Lord provided me with a new challenge. Our school, like every other, is full of sinners (we teachers are included). But for the most part, the teachers are the ones pointing the way up the path of righteousness, and there are always a core of students who want nothing to do with it. In fact, they are setting up neon signs pointing down the opposite way. Human nature being what it is, who do the fence-sitting students want to be like? Do they want to emulate their teachers . . . or their friends? So, every day the students become more like each other in the giant cookie-cutter factory. Of course, you’re wondering “What about those kids who genuinely love the Lord and want to serve Him?” I have two questions for you: 1. Where you that kid? 2. How were you treated? I think we adults become senile a lot earlier than we believe when we allow ourselves to think that the scorners in our schools aren’t tearing down our kids left, right, and center. Once again, let’s use the Army metaphor. These new recruits know they want to serve their country, but they have no idea how to fight. If the enemy infiltrates the ranks, there is little hope.

So, how do you help the problem? Train the soldiers with a sense of urgency! I had the idea to start developing student leaders by instituting a Student Body Council program. We had a quasi-student leadership program before but it had deteriorated into a popularity contest between which heathen and which pagan had the most friends. Side Note: If your students leaders aren’t outspoken testimonies for Christ . . . they shouldn’t be student leaders.

Please don’t misunderstand me. No one is perfect. I have seen my fair share of college Prayer Captains, high school Student Body Presidents, and (dare I say) church pastors do one thing or another to disqualify them from their position. But that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water. I say, “No!” We don’t give up discipling because we know they’ll never be perfect!

My plan behind the SBC was four-fold: 1. Give the students visible and productive roles within the school in order to be a good example. 2. Allow the students to suggest and even enact change that would help our school conform to God’s will for us. 3. To teach the students how to handle themselves like adults. Teach them to run meetings, vote, brain-storm, and produce a quality product without being harassed or cajoled by an authority figure. 4. Disciple them. I desired to use this council as an opportunity to find those God-loving young people and work with them one-on-one to become true leaders for Christ.

The student body was started and I have to say that our first experimental semester went very well, and I am looking forward to next year’s council. I’m also excited about some of the SBC’s summer projects!

But this service opportunity quickly shot off another tendril of service opportunities. Side Note: Do what God calls you to do and watch the opportunities multiply! I can’t actually remember how I got it into my head, but I was inspired in part by a friend. Yohannan Lee works at SCS in the kitchen, but he also is a tremendous help to me when it comes to Yearbook. Yo, is a gifted photographer and graphic designer. He created five of our Yearbook covers, takes tons of photos, Photoshops them all, and loves every minute of it. He is also a videographer. It just so happens that photography, graphic design, and videography are some of my passions as well.

Before long he and I created Student Body Films to function as our production company. We also founded Three Hands Studios to handle the technical side. In that first semester the Lord allowed us to produce the following projects and start our own YouTube channel.

The first was delivered by our Student Body President as a way to introduce the new SBC and to tell the student body a little bit about how she viewed her school

The second was just for fun. Our basketball teams were both competing in the Illinois state IACS competition and we wanted to liven things up a bit.

Our third and longest project was designed to help our junior highers as they prepared for the state fine arts tournament.

The final finished project promoted our school play, Anne of Green Gables.

The overall goal is to help the student leaders have an impact far beyond the four wall of their school. We want to show the other students that they can make a difference for Christ if they just try. So far these few videos have been watched over 2,500 in over 20 countries. Next fall we will focus on more educational and spiritual projects as well as the occasional entertaining film.

Side Note: Never be ambitious for power and glory. But don’t pass on opportunities to widen your circle of influence. When He was bodily on earth, Jesus had hundreds of disciples, 12 apostles, 3 in His inner circle, and 1 who was considered the closest to Him (note that I did not say favorite). You don’t have to be intimate with everyone, but if you can write a book, keep up a blog, post videos on YouTube, or preach to people who most individuals will never have the chance to meet . . . then do it!

Pray for our student leaders. If God can capture their hearts and train them to serve Him with all of their minds, bodies, and strength they will be a powerful enemy against Satan and his destructive purposes. Train up the children!

The New Me: Part 1

I won’t waste digital print to delve into that span of life that was my single-digits through undergraduate years. I am ashamed to say that I made many a poor choice and suffered a great deal of consequences from them. But praise God He used my sin to show me the Savior! Please take this to heart – no story is worth telling that does not have God at its center.

After finishing my graduate work at Bob Jones University and marrying my delightful wife, we moved to the Midwest state of Illinois. We moved because I had taken a job teaching 6th grade at Schaumburg Christian School (a ministry of Bethel Baptist Church). Even though I had been working as a regional training manager for Panera Bread for a number of years and had been teaching the martial arts since I was fifteen, this was my first introduction to teaching in a school. I loved it. I remember being perfectly at peace; not because of anything other than I knew I was in the center of God’s will for my life. He wanted me at SCS and there was no question about it.

All of the posts to follow will have something to do with SCS and Bethel Baptist Church. This place has become a hub for me to branch out in the work of the Lord. I’ve developed two criteria for knowing if I’m in the right ministry: 1. My shepherds are preaching God’s truth and my family is growing, & 2. God is using me. This second factor has been abundantly clear to me from the start.

If I had to sum up my teaching experiences over the past five years, I would have to use the word application. I would be the most desolate soul in the universe if I knew that my students were the best grammarians or actors on the planet and yet they died and went to Hell. It would grieve my very cells to know I had missed an opportunity to take this class and apply it directly to the instant my students were living in. Side Note: No subject is worth learning if it is learned in a Godless vacuum.

Teachers, please pay attention. There is not a page in your textbook that cannot be used to point back to God. There is not a theory or hypothesis that does not radically affect the spirituality of your students. There is not a project or lesson that cannot help those eager minds transform into the image of their Lord. Your job is to find God’s truth in your curriculum and apply it to where your students are living. To neglect this task would be to fail as a teacher.

My main job for the past five years has been to teach. That, in and of itself, has been a supreme joy. But this has been merely a starting point – a veritable spring board for opportunity. The timeline of this post spans the fall of 2007 to the spring of 2012. In the next post I will rewind to the spring of 2008 to show you the first sprouting branch of ministry God entrusted me with.

In His Care,

AMBrewster

P.S.

Check out what our 2012 Studet Body President had to say about SCS in her own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoElGQ2HutM