“Fringe kids” have always been a fascination for me ever since I started working with youth. Probably because I myself was a “fringe Kid”, or at least I thought I was one, lol. When I was active in youth ministry, I would do my best to identify those kids and do my best to reach out and befriend them and pull them into the group in some way, while still respecting their identities. This is a pretty decent article, the writer points out that Christ, Himself, was a “fringe Kid”, while that is certainly true, I also think people have a tendency to place labels on Christ that HE wouldn’t label HIMSELF.
I’m drawn to Jesus for many reasons: His compassion for the weak and hurting, his radical ability to forgive his enemies, and his bold love of the marginalized. It’s the way he interacts with the fringe that I love the most. See, I love teens that many have deemed unlovable. I love offering support to teens who find themselves robbed of support they should have. I believe Jesus has a lot in common with these teens. This helps me identify my passion for those who have found themselves on the outside looking in. By recognizing the fringe in Jesus, I can also recognize Jesus in the fringe. I recently facilitated a workshop on strategies for reaching fringe kids. Based on the collective experience of the workshop participants, we composed a list of traits we find in the fringe kids we’ve worked with. Traits of Fringe They often move at their own pace and not the pace of the group. They isolate themselves and like to stay hidden in the corners of the room. They often have their own dress code and don’t always embrace fashion norms. They usually lack a solid support system. They are silent and they are disruptive. They generally feel unaccepted or cast off by their own community. The Fringe in Jesus He was a child with a different focus than most children. He moved at his Heavenly Father’s pace, which was sometimes hard for his earthly parents to accept. Jesus went away to pray. Those who knew him perhaps felt like he was isolating himself. Jesus claims to be the Son of God, a King, yet was not dressed like one. On his journey to the cross he was mocked. Jesus spent time in silence. But he also disrupted the norm for many with his message and miracles. Jesus made it through childhood and his teen life as that kid whose mom claimed to have been a virgin at the time of his birth. He has no biological father. Jesus was not accepted in his own community. Jesus understands what its like to be different. He identifies with those who feel secondary and pushed out by their own community. Of course we can look past the traits of fringe in Jesus and see him for who he was, and is – Lord of our life. But can we look past the traits of fringe in the teens that make ministry just a little bit more challenging, and require a little more risk? They too are sons and daughters of the living God. Our Challenge: See Jesus in the fringe. Who do we need to recognize in our youth ministries, in the communities where we live, as a son or daughter of the living God? – See more at: http://youthministry.com/jesus-in-the-fringe-strategies-for-reaching-fringe-kids/#sthash.IsWrYWJH.S7re1xJH.dpuf
Theresa Mazza Theresa is a long time youth director and youth worker currently volunteering and causing student ministry mayhem at Broomfield United Methodist Church in Broomfield Colorado. She is also a speaker, writer, mommy, and wife. – See more at: http://youthministry.com/jesus-in-the-fringe-strategies-for-reaching-fringe-kids/#sthash.IsWrYWJH.S7re1xJH.dpuf