ATTENTION SIMPLY INSIDERS!
We are elated to announce a brand new book called 99 Thoughts for Junior Highers from Mark Oestreicher and Brooklyn Lindsey written just for the junior high students in your life and ministry! I did a quick Q&A with Brooklyn about this new gem. Her passion for students is contagious! Read on and don’t forget to pick up your copies of 99 Thoughts for Junior Highers now available on SimplyYouthMinistry.com.
Q: What makes junior high students unique from high school students?
A: “There’s a uniqueness that comes with a junior highers that makes me think of wet cement, carnival rides, 3D glasses, and deep space exploration. Basically, they are developmentally at a place where EVERYTHING is changing–RAPIDLY. It makes their experience and existence different from that of a high schooler, because they are in the thick of change. Their brains are changing just as fast as their bodies. It’s the perfect storm for developing great habits, healthy hearts, and tenacious desires for Kingdom good.”
Q: What are the key things that you and Marko focused on in the book?
A: “We focused a whole lot on what a junior higher would want to hear or need to read about. I think it was a priority for both of us to write a book that wasn’t about what a parent would want a junior higher to read but to write a book that gives serious attention to the audience. We focus the 99 thoughts into sections based on themes that seem to be priority in our experience and research. Some of them include: changes, spiritual life, friendships, church, and priorities.”
Q: What do you most hope junior high students take-away from reading this?
A: “I hope that junior high students feel understood and valued as they are reading. I hope that they feel helped in their relationships with God and with others. I hope that they gain wisdom from God’s word that meets them right where they are . I hope that they do more than “take away” from the book, I hope they will add their own thoughts to it as they work them out daily. I hope they destroy the thing–until they’re ready to move on!”
Q: Have any ideas on how youth workers can inspire their junior highers to read it?
A: “Junior highers have different catalysts for inspiration. Some are inspired through story, some through action lived out, some through an image, or in simple words spoken to them. I’d start with what you know about the person receiving it and go from there. For example, if she’s into anime, ask her to illustrate one bite size piece a week. Clip her art up around the house. Make it a project that you do together. But maybe he’s not into art, and he’d rather be playing video games. Talk about one thought a night at dinner (instead of handing him a book that he may just throw under the bed with The Book Thief and the Divergent Series). Every now and then you’ll find that they love books, and they’ll want to devour it in seclusion. Let them! Buy him or her a journal, and have them write out their own thoughts to add to the pile. There’s nothing like wisdom straight from God’s word. Applying it every day is what gets junior highers to actualize their faith in the future! Create an Instagram photo collection with a hashtag, just for him or her, with pictures to remind them of the truth that they read today. Or maybe they take the pics to tell you what they are reading and what stood out most. If this book is a present, write a personal letter inside, and invite them into an adventure of their own!”
Q: Any other thoughts you want everyone to read about 99 Thoughts for Junior Highers?
A: “I wish I had a book like this in junior high. I think that’s why I’m so excited about this one. I looked for something like this book at that age, because my main help came from my friends. My friends were awesome friends, but they were just in same boat with me and didn’t have the extra wisdom I needed to help me get to the next step in maturity, faith, and responsibility.
Btw, I wasn’t involved in the cover design–however–I do think tiny doughnuts with sprinkles are just perfect. The thoughts inside will have similar (non-diabetes inducing) side effects.”
I had so much fun hearing about Brooklyn’s heart behind the book. She and Mark truly did a great work with this one.
Thanks for loving Junior Highers,