Tears at Main Event!
We took the student ministry to Main Event this past Sunday. Easy event, check them in and let them have the time of their lives bowling, playing laser tag, or just spending all their money on the arcades. Easy, right?
Easy if you have a group of friends that you came with. Easy if you are confident enough to make friends. But not so easy if you’re new or when saying hi to a new group of people is hard. I watched as a sixth grade boy, who wanted to go bowling, got left in the dust by his friends because they wanted to play laser tag first. Sixth grade is hard; we can all remember back to those days of figuring out your place in the social sphere. So, this boy was trying to be cool and pull it together, but just couldn’t help the tears. Long story short, we found him a group of friends he knew that also wanted to bowl, and all was right in the world.
On the podcast this week listen to Heather Upchurch joins us and shares with us how raising a daughter with autism has been challenging.
About thirty minutes later, we see homeboy hanging out with a group of eighth grade girls. Genius. Not only is he hanging out with older girls, but they shared their ice cream with him. Again, this kid is a genius. They hung out with him off and on all night and everyone seemed to be having a great time! What a win.
This group of girls is great at including others, not perfect, but usually pretty great at it. I thanked a few of them later for including the sixth grader, for taking time out of their Main Event friend time for him. You know those times when you’re expecting one response from someone, but you’re stopped in your tracks by the goodness of their response? That was one of those times for me.
They said that it was no problem, that they were all having so much fun, and then one of the girls said, “I just really hate to see people left out and never want anyone to be alone. So I wanted to include him.”
How often do I see someone left out and think of the inconvenience of making connections? Or see someone who is just going to be a hard conversation and avoid them or really gear up in my mind?
What if instead I entered into those moments with the heart of my eighth-grade friend, not wanting anyone to be alone?
I’ve known what it is to be left out or had eyes rolled at. I’ve been on the other end, and yet it is sometimes hard for me to remember to look up and see others around me.
Jesus says often to His followers, “Come and See.” What would it take for us to see those moments of inconvenience in the light of an opportunity to come and see what God has for us?
Romans 15:7 says that welcoming others, as Christ has welcomed you, brings glory to God. And over and over again we see in Scripture that the Church, the body of Christ, is built up by unity and harmony among believers. That Jesus reaches out to the least of these, so we too should reach out to others.
It might not be a huge grand act, but what if we started by saying hi to someone who was alone at church or someone who might be having a down day in the carpool line? What if others knew that we were followers of Jesus by the way we love one another (John 13:35)?
Not surprisingly, these girls who included the boy at Main Event are the ones mentioned today in the podcast about including their friends in small group. If middle schoolers, who are changing the world with teenage angst, can do it, why can’t we all be women who change the world through the way we love and include others?
That’s the kind of person I want to be. One who sees the people around me and brings them in so that we can all know God better.