This year, I’ve upped my involvement in my kids’ schools. Lots of meetings, boards, PTAs and O’s, rehearsals, performances, car pools and class time. As a church planter, I think it’s been the best way to get grounded in the neighborhood and keep a finger on the pulse, not only of what is going on, but who people really are, what they are struggling through and what excites them.
It’s also presented a new paradigm for 5Q. Perhaps the best word for it is praxis. I’ve seen 5Q at work in new and inspiring ways through the students, especially the elementary kids. They haven’t fully developed the filters that keeps them from being 100% who they are. It’s so awesome to watch their unhindered personalities at work and play.
I’ve been noticing 5Q In The Classroom as I’ve been more involved and that’s what I want to share with you today. In all honesty, it could be the best way to grow 5Q in adults: take the patient approach and raise five fold ministry from the kindergarten up.
The best way to encourage 5Q in adults is to see, nurture and build those gifts in them when they are children.
So let’s started with A, shall we?
One of the things that we see in young apostles is the explorer. They seek, they dream, they long, they ask, they enjoy. This is the child that finds a that a box can be another world, or a ball is a light that shines in darkness. The explorers lead other kids into fun spaces that they would not know exist otherwise. And…sometimes they get a detention (or you district’s equivalent) for it.
Explorers search out the spaces, discover places and create purpose.
Young apostles create new games at recess, the invent new ways to play old ones, changing rules and implementing new ones that inspire and challenge other kids.
Young apostles don’t wait to join or get picked. They lead with words, promises and actions, like tapping someone on the head and yelling, “you’re it!” as they run away.
They ask questions that probe and test boundaries. They don’t intent to be contrary, but have led many teacher to happy hour. They genuinely want to understand the instruction to its fullest potential. They also find ways to apply their understanding of instructions in unintended ways.
The apostolic student finds spaces and places so that they can inspire other kids to trust that there are mysteries and exciting surprises just beyond what they know.
The prophetic often shows up in the personality of the ‘rule follower.’ As I observe, the young prophet isn’t afraid of breaking rules as much as they want other to follow them. It’s like they know that the fence is electrified and they are trying to keep kids from getting shocked. I’m amazed at the level of caring I see in kids that are gifted like this.
The young prophet learns to obey the rules and live within the teacher’s set boundaries. They know where the boundaries are so they can help others live within them as well.
This kind of student is not the obsequious one. They don’t want points. They grow respect for rules, knowing that a quality of life has been laid out for them and they don’t want to miss it.
They don’t hesitate to remind others that the good life is on the other side of doing what they are asked, what is expected.
They are always on hand to remind their friends what responses illicit good things for themselves and everyone and the consequences if they respond unwisely.
The young prophet freely interprets actions under the rubric of rules and boundaries. They ‘judge’ not because they don’t like someone. The do it because they don’t like to trouble they get in, or the hurt it causes.
The prophetic student wants safety for others; to create an environment where authority is respected so the truly wonderful can happen!
In the classroom, the evangelist is often recognizable as the ‘organizer.’ This is certainly not a comment about how clean their desk space is. It’s about the way they approach others in the classroom, play ground or wherever they are. You just see it naturally in them. This is one gift, that I have observed, diminishes as kids get older. Perhaps, when you open yourself up to others, the rejection takes its toll. Perhaps, it’s peer pressure. Perhaps, the older you get, them more fills your calendar. It’s possible that evangelism is literally scheduled out of the organizers life.
They are the ones inviting other kids to events and parties that they will be at.
The inclusion of their peers is such a high priority.
They often respond with “Yeah, and what about Timmy? Can he do it, too?” They are awesome includers™!
The young evangelist doesn’t want to be in a reality where anyone has to miss an opportunity that they have and/or are excited about.
They find the kids who aren’t playing and invite them in. They find a place or make a space for those that don’t tend to naturally fit. They take a stand for the uninvited!
We adults need to boldly encourage this gift when we see it. The problematic fact that we are seeing fewer evangelists than we need could very well start with quiet adults.
Ok, these are almost my favorite kid in the class. They are the compassionate one, the students who can just accept kids for who they are; they totally see the best in everyone and defend that best when it is challenged. The compassionate are not wimps. They have hardy hearts. They are strong, bold and when they see a wrong they step into it; there is no one that deserves to be without someone.
The young shepherd sees those in pain and seeks a solution for them and with them.
They keep track of how friends are doing, ask about them and even intercede to the teacher on their behalf.
The compassionate one will give up playtime to stay with a friend who is injured or otherwise not enjoying the activity. They miss out so that someone else isn’t missed.
The young shepherd seems to seek an psychic baseline – an environment where there is equality of emotion, opportunity and encouragement.
Young Shepherds have their finger on the heartbeat of those around them and respond so wonderfully when someone’s pulse is out of rhythm.
They are deep kids, willing to be last, willing to be the butt of a joke, willing to take negative attention off another. It might be that some have simply lived more and have a bit of a well of experience out of which they courageously love and protect those around them.
Without meaning to belittle the gift, the teacher manifests in the Teacher’s pet, generally. You can’t deny that there are those kids. They seem to thrive on the outside, chasing after books when their peers are chasing each other. They are already at their seat when the bell rings and the first to turn in their homework (or Thursday folder as know it). There are a couple, at least, in every classroom.
They don’t mean to be servile, they just find that closeness to the teacher is the fastest and most efficient way to get more of what they want the most: to know.
The young teachers are the ones who reach and teach their classmates when the teacher can’t get to them fast enough.
They thrive in an atmosphere of responsibility when the teacher looks to them to be a helper.
They can seems kind of bossy, but it isn’t because they’re simply a jerk. They are just a bit further down the information sidewalk™, understanding things at a rate that others don’t.
It seems that those who exhibit this gift early can be shamed out of it. Where the evangelist is quieted by rejected, teachers experience criticism. I wonder what would happen if their gift was celebrated by other kids. It’s my opinion that adults can do more to encourage this gift as well. Perhaps we would see healthier, more integrated educators activated at younger ages in the Body.
This is simply what I’ve observed as I’ve been apart of the life of my kids in their schools this years. It’s amazing to watch. Obviously, nothing I’ve written is law, but it is noticeable.
The truth is, since 5Q is written to the primordial code, the genetic sequence of the spirit, it’s abundant everywhere you look. Today, it’s just about the classroom.
What do you think?
How do you witness the five-fold at work in early life stages?
We can’t wait to hear from you.