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Scott Rubin: How Middle School Ministry Is Like Fantasy Football

 —  November 8, 2013 — Leave a comment


I’m a FFB rookie; this is my first year “owning” a team. And I realize there are some undefeated teams out there, but I’m feeling pretty good (and lucky) about being 6-3 and tied for first. Here are a few comparisons I’ve noticed…

- Week to week, you’re never sure what you’re going to get from your key players. I was lucky to draft Calvin Johnson, who had 50 points in his last game. But he’s also had a 5 point week, and a 7 point week. Sometimes, the middle schooler who I count on to bring insightful comments to our small group and generally lower the “goofy-factor”, just isn’t his usual self some weeks.

- Doing even a little bit of “research” can reveal a bigger picture. I don’t subscribe to a fantasy-insider network, but I’ve quickly realized that some simple observation can reveal otherwise-hidden stories for how players play. Injuries, bye weeks, the current opponent, etc. And there are often unseen stories for how middle schoolers engage: who else is present, what’s happening at home, hidden stress-ers, and even “just how they feel” that day. Taking a few minutes to do a little research (asking them questions, getting to know their parents, just observing) can really help me understand how they engage.

- Every week is a chance to see something you never expected. A wide receiver on my favorite NFL squad (the Bengals) caught a team-record 4 touchdown passes in a game last weekend; he’d only caught 4 touchdowns in his whole career before that! Nobody saw it coming. A 7th grader who’s never indicated any real spiritual interest shows up one week with all kinds of questions about who Jesus is and what that has to do with his life… no prior evidence of that happening, either! I’ve got be looking, every week, for surprising stuff out of students.

I could go on … any of you FFB veterans have any comparisons?

Kurt Johnston

Kurt Johnston


Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

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