A ray of light: Cadre’s One Another Living Guide

In an amazing experiment, scientists set out to test an animal’s survival instincts. The scientists dropped a rat into a large jar of water that had been placed in complete darkness. They wanted to see how long the animal would continue to swim before it finally gave up and allowed itself to drown. What did they find? That the rat usually lasted little more than three minutes in complete darkness.

Then the scientists dropped another rat into the same kind of water-filled jar. But instead of putting it in total darkness, they allowed one tiny ray of light to shine onto the jar. Under those conditions, the rat kept swimming for 36 hours! That’s over 700 times longer! It seems that because the animal had a ray of hope, it continued to swim!

A ray of light

God wants YOU to be that ray of hope and light to the people “swimming” in your sphere of influence. That includes the people in your everyday life: at work, home, school, church and your neighborhood.

But where do you start?

Cadre’s newly updated, revised, and expanded One Another Living Guide

This is your guide for a journey through 25 life-changing “one another” verses from the Bible (i.e. love one another, pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens). It’s a pocket-sized booklet of biblical challenges that help you and your friends inflow the love of God into your lives—and then helps you overflow God’s love into your everyday relationships in practical ways.

Each “one another” study challenges you to express God’s love to others in a practical way. This guide is perfect for families, small groups, discipleship groups, Sunday school classes, elder’s meetings, staff meetings, disciplemaking learning communities, mission trip teams, and even your marriage.

What might God be able to do in your daily relationships if you dared to be a ray of light to the people around you? I dare you to find out.

View sample pages and order on the Cadre site.

If you host Cadre’s Ministry Is Relationships training experience, each person will receive the newly updated, revised, and expanded One Another Living Guide.

Find out how to bring a Ministry Is Relationships training experience to your ministry.

 

The gift your students really want

[This post is part of our Batteries Included collection just for people who invest in disciplemaking with middle schoolers. If you’re a youth leader, parent or teacher who spends time with middle schoolers, this is for you. If you’re not—share it with a friend who is!]

Talking with middle schoolers can be overwhelming. I often find myself surrounded by a group of excited girls, all telling me a different story. Sometimes my ears get overloaded as I try to listen meaningfully to all of them at the same time.

In these moments, I’m struck by how deeply middle schoolers long to be listened to, to be valued, to know someone really cares about their lives. These moments make me wonder how often people really do listen to middle schoolers. How often do we, as adults, speak to them with compassion, not just correction or criticism.

The best gift: your ears

As an adult, one of the best gifts you can give middle schoolers is your ears! Here are 3 ways to give the gift of your ears—moving your conversations from casual to heart listening.

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Listen more than you speak.

Listen to the kind of words students use. How do they talk about their families? Their friends? What emotions lie beneath their words? What do they share about how they view themselves?

Do you hear insecurity, arrogance, self-defeatism, confidence? What hopes and fears do they express in their stories, in their mannerisms?

Listening well will provide you a wealth of insight on how to love them.

Ask good questions!

Whether students are naturally chatty or reserved, asking great questions helps students share what’s really going on inside. Sometimes the most talkative students are the least likely to really open up. Filling the air with words can keep others from cracking the shell.

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Look for open-ended questions—ones that require an answer other than “yes” or “no.” Jesus was a master at asking questions like this! Here are just a few from Cadre’s Ministry is Relationships training that will take your conversations below the surface:

  • What is one thing you would love to smash with a hammer if you would not get in trouble for it and why?
  • Who is crazy about you—and how does that person show it?
  • What story do you enjoy hearing your parents or other relatives tell about something YOU did or said when you were little?
  • What is the greatest misconception people have about you?
  • If you could wave a magic wand and have whatever you wished for in any part of your life, what would it be?
  • What do you think God’s opinion is of you? If you could read His mind, what would God be thinking of you right now?

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At ministry events, talk to students more than you talk to other adults.

This is so important. If you spend more time talking with your own friends and peers, students may feel like you aren’t interested in them. While high school students may be more interested in “space” from adults, typically younger ones crave attention from grown-ups. Listening to them is truly one of the best gifts you can give them.

Want to help your team grow in your heart listening skills? Ministry is Relationships is a great place to start. Contact us to find out more.

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Becoming a safe place

[Psst, here’s a secret: Middle schoolers are some of our favorite people. This post is part of our Batteries Included collection just for people who invest in this awkward, amazing age group. f you’re a youth leader, parent or teacher who spends time with middle schoolers, this is for you. If you’re not—share it with a friend who is!]

I often challenge our middle school students to make our group their safe place. They get cut-down and kicked around enough everywhere else. As people of God, we’re called to be different—to be full of the grace and truth of Jesus. This is a brand new concept for most middle schoolers.

Following Jesus isn’t “safe”—it’s full of risk and adventure. But fostering an accepting, loving environment gives students the courage to trust the dangerous message of Christ.

(Actually, I think this is the same for adults.)

And if we’re going to follow Jesus together, we need to build an environment of trust and kindness—the kind that flows out of mutual community.

I know, I know, this all sounds good…except that I mentioned this is middle schoolers we’re talking about, right???

You might think it’s impossible for middle schoolers to be nice to each other.

It’s not!

Pulling students in from the fringe

It does, however, take a lot of prayer, patience and intentionality on your part. The prayer and patience are easy enough to understand. So how can we be purposeful about helping students feel safe in our midst?

  1. Introduce students to each other. You may know all of them, but do they know each other? Don’t assume. Play name games. Show core students how to walk over and introduce themselves to new students by doing it with them.
  2. Play games that build bonds rather than break them. We seldom use elimination games that quickly disengage half the group. It’s not because I no longer believe in competition—it’s because students get bored when you cut them out of the game. Instead of eliminating, you can give students “disabilities” like using only one foot, running backwards or being blindfolded to penalize but keep them participating. Competition can build great bonds, especially if teams are working together toward a shared goal.
  3. Model words of kindness, encouragement and hope, and help your other leaders guard their sarcasm. When you hear students tearing each other down, challenge them on it! Cut-downs are second nature for many middle schoolers. They need help recognizing what’s not okay to say to each other. Just be careful that the way you challenge them still models the compassion you want them to have!

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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Want to Equip your middle schoolers to help create a safe place for following Jesus together? Find out how!