At Seven Rivers Church, we have a new youth pastor named Michael Puckett. Michael is married to Emily, and they have a little baby girl named Blakely. Michael has a younger brother, Connor, who is interning at Seven Rivers. Connor was telling me one night recently that his big brother Michael “was a really good preacher.” I thought to myself, “How sweet. A little brother looking up to the big brother.” I didn’t pay this much heed, but rather counted it as a thoughtful gesture from one brother to another.
Then I heard Michael Puckett deliver a sermon in our Upper School Chapel. Connor is right -- he is good! But not because he happens to be gifted in the area of oratory (though he is). Neither is it because he gives a masterful exposition of a 3-point sermon (though he does). It’s not because he learned a lot from hearing his father preach while growing up (though he did). I believe Connor thinks his brother is good at preaching because he delivers the gospel message unfiltered and unabashedly. He is brutally honest and shares personally about this broken world, its effect on us, and how we get angry at God because of it. He reminds us that our God is a good God, all the time, despite the circumstances of this world.
As I was listening to young Michael preach the gospel truth, I thought to myself, “Kids need to hear this all the time.” Then I was immediately reminded that they can! Students from grades 6-12 can meet Michael and his team at youth group at Seven Rivers every week. It’s called Real Lyfe Student Ministry. Middle school students (grades 6-8) meet weekly on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 - 8:00PM, and high school students (grades 9-12) meet on Sunday nights from 6:00 - 7:30PM. All groups meet in the Student Ministry Building on campus.
Take it from one who has raised kids and whose hindsight may be a little more 20/20 on this side of parenting -- engaging your teens in weekly worship and weekly fellowship under the leading of a capable, loving ministry team is one of the most important things you can do. If you don’t have a home church or a youth ministry for your kids, take advantage of the village before you here at Seven Rivers Church. They are waiting to lock arms and walk with you through the gauntlet of parenting teens.