For Youth Workers Post

Climbing to Higher Ground

Diane Mahoney Weaver

Here’s how one youth group gave an adult the push she needed . . .

Positive Peer Pressure

Ropes Course2 TSP 158659410One Saturday in October, I joined our junior high youth group to do a “ropes course.” I thought I was going on the outing to be an adult supervisor, experience the challenge of overcoming obstacles, and have a fun-filled Saturday. Well, all of that did happen, and far more.

After several challenges that we succeeded in meeting as a group, we faced the BIG ONE! We were to climb to the top of a 55-foot wall by climbing and holding on to one-inch by three-inch blocks that were nailed to the hill and spaced two to three feet apart. The “safety net” was a rope that was wrapped around the climber and held by the course instructor and three youth.

Climbing the wall2 TSPWell, my thoughts ranged from, No way can I or will I climb this wall to Maybe we’ll run out of time, and I won’t have to do it. All the brave and daring youth attempted the wall. Some made it, and some did not—but all of them tried. And they were all supported by each other’s shouts of encouragement and the vigilant holding of the ropes to physically protect the ones on the wall.

It was 5:50 p.m. and we were quitting at 6:00 p.m. One person hadn’t attempted the wall—me! I knew if I didn’t try to climb the wall, I only be shortchanging my own life experience; so I climbed. Halfway up, I fell three times, only to be held by the strength of the rope and the four people on the ground below me. After the third fall, I wanted to quit—but all I could hear were the girls shouting, “You can do it, Diane!” and “We believe in you!” I knew I had to keep trying; and before I knew it, I was at the top. Legs shaking, arms aching, and out of breath—I felt fantastic!

Climbing Wall Ftr TSP 90818078

It was the encouragement of the youth below—the body of Christ—who helped me get to the top. How often do we, as adults, feel it is our role to encourage and support the youth and children of our church family? For one adult, it is time to start listening to them. They are here for me as much as I am for them. Together, through our encouragement of each other, we can and will climb to higher ground.



Hebrews 10:24 says that we should “consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds” (NRSV, italics added). One definition of provoke is “to provide the needed stimulus for.” How are you using your power to provoke?

Diane Mahoney Weaver is a member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. She did the ropes course with the youth from Armstrong Chapel United Methodist Church.

—from devozine (September/October 1996). Copyright © 1996 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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