August 10, 2022
I grew up not attending church. No Sunday service, no AWANA, and no youth group. So, when I became a believer in my early 20s, my husband and I got plugged in right away.
I quickly learned just how crucial that fellowship time with other believers really was. Fast forward a couple of years, we began to have children, and I knew the importance of getting our kids involved in the children’s and youth ministry from a young age.
When I began to feel a nudge from God leading me towards involvement with high school kids, I definitely questioned it (um, hello, my background is in elementary education… let’s stay in my comfort zone here, God). But shortly after, an opportunity arose for me to lead a freshman girls’ Youth Small Group. AKA door opened. I nervously accepted, yet somewhat excitedly (hey, at this point, I was spending my days with 3 kids under 3), and I have yet to question that nudge from God.
See, high school ministry is SO cool. Figuratively and literally (these girls keep me young and current with all the trends). We get to dive into the Word every week, and while I hope they can learn something from my leading and experiences, I am learning just as much from them. Sure, we dive deep into our Bible study, but we also spend time in fellowship and discussing topics such as adulthood and motherhood, trials and hardships, experiences had, and lessons learned. These are all things that would have had a HUGE impact on my life had I been involved in a Youth Small Group in my teens.
I am in year 3 of high school ministry and can clearly see God’s footprints in my life from serving in this position. He’s still pushing me outside my comfort zone (considering I was asked to be on the youth pastor search team and am writing this very article), but I’ve learned to follow His nudges no matter the discomfort. So, I’ll stay here, serving in High School Small Groups, until God gives me another nudge moving me somewhere else (or, more like, until my children become high school age and want me out).
Amanda is married to Ryan and spends her days with their four children, twins Landon & Leighton (6), Rowen (4), and Austin (1). She serves in the East White Oak nursery, and helps with summer Children’s Ministry. For fun, you’ll find Amanda reading, cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
August OakLeaf Articles:
Real Relationships in our Messy Lives by Pastor Justin Waples
Sharing Life in Adult Small Groups by Brad Horton
Connecting Teens to Christ and One Another by Amanda Andris
AWANA Small Groups by Jenn Gerber
A Story of Serving with my Small Group by Yelena Wiggim
Bible Studies Build Relationships by Megan Reeg
Building a Small Group Culture by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem