Uturn Jr. High took a Wednesday night in November to discuss the topic of respect and honoring each other. Amidst joking and kidding around there can be a lot of disrespect occurring within a large group of people. The leadership of Uturn JH had really been praying that God would bring a shift in our youth group's culture. No longer would we be consumed with degrading others for the sake of a laugh, interrupting someone while they're talking, texting during service, or valuing ourselves above others.
In Romans 12:10, Paul encourages the early church in Rome to, "Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Uturn JH is praying that during this school year we would make an effort to have our group characterized by the qualities described in that verse. When a student brings a guest to come check out Uturn JH we want them to experience the same respect, unconditional love, and honor that Paul wanted to see in the Roman church.
During a discussion regarding this topic an 8th grade student, Salina Atsemet, stepped out in boldness to share her thoughts about creating a culture of respect in Uturn JH. Here's what she had to say:
"For me church is and was always about growing with Jesus and building your faith. Church is supposed to be a spiritual place where we come to learn. When I first came to Uturn, I realized that a lot of people here were focused on drama, who was going out with who, or going to the bathroom and never coming back. This made we wonder what we came to church for; just to hang out with friends, to have immature Jr. High fights, or learn and absorb the sermons and build your faith. Uturn has three rules: Respect God, Respect Others, and Respect the Stuff. Sean has told us these things over and over again. As an outsider I think we need to follow these rules by staying within the boundaries, not starting rumors, respecting our parents, focusing on the lessons, not texting during services, and giving our full attention for the hour we're there. The majority of us focus on friends more than we think about God. I know I'm going to try and respect Sean and the other leaders at Uturn, and I hope you will too."
I'm so thankful for Salina's courage to share her thoughts with her peers, as I know it could have been very scary to do so. I believe God is speaking through her to help correct and encourage the entire Uturn JH group to strive to live lifestyles that ooze respect and honor for others.