As a minister you are judged and evaluated on a variety of different things. One of the primary is numbers. How many people do you have at youth group? How many do you have in small groups? How many are becoming student leaders? These are all good and necessary criteria to be judged by. If you want to succeed in all these areas, there is one simple are to focus on. It’s through relationships and here is how.
How do you grow your youth group? Relationships
How do you grow your small groups? Relationships
How do you create more student leaders? Relationships
It’s all about the relationships, isn’t it?
Think about it at the heart of all things student ministry is relationships. The more we invest in relationships the greater the opportunity students and leaders will feel comfortable with us, want to be around us and gain the vision for where the student ministry program is headed. The less you spend with them the more they will just come to programs and events without feeling any particular pull or passion to come. Which means leaders won’t feel that they are making an impact and students won’t feel that there is any real connection they have with the student ministry.
The great news about all this is that today there is never been more opportunities than now for relationships to develop and grow. For instance, you can…
- Show up early and stay late at church to touch base with students. Whether it is a church service or a youth event, get there early and stay a little bit later to connect with kids. Teens are always there just hanging around so get there a little early and stay later to connect.
- Use social media. Teens LOVE social media. Find out what their social media accounts are and start using that to converse with them. But be careful! You have to make sure all your leaders are above reproach in what they are talking to students about. Make sure you go over this with our Student Ministry Leadership Team.
- Use Online Opportunities for Offline connections. Social media and online connections are great to have. You can have some great conversation starters there, but don’t let it stay just online. Use the online tools to begin friendships offline and in person.
- Show Up expectedly. Coordinate with students when you can show up at their events or activities. Whether it is a sport event, school activity or event you’ve been invited to, show up and have those shared experiences with them.
- Show up Unexpectedly. What a shock and excitement student feel when leaders show up unexpectedly. If students are weary about whether or not you care about them when you show up when they least expect it, it can go a long way to starting a friendship when you show up at their events unexpectedly.
- Capitalize on Shared Experiences. Shared experiences are any experience you have with others at the same time. It is experiencing something at church or being at a concert or sporting event. It could even be a camp trip where x, y and z funny things happened. Shared experiences are great ways to start a friendship with a student as it gives you something to talk about which will hopefully lead to more things to talk about.
All these opportunities are just that…opportunities for leaders to have to start building friendships with students that can lead to life change in a student’s life. And, the more leaders capitalize on these opportunities the more students feel cared for and accepted which will hopefully grow the ministry. But in order for this kind of growth to happen, leaders have to take the initiative and engage students in these area.
Inspire leaders to take initiate, engage students and follow up with them and I believe you will have leaders feeling that they are making an impact, students lives being changed and a ministry that is thriving.
So what do you think? How have you seen your ministry grow through these 6 ways? Or, is there another contact work strategy you’ve used to help grow your ministry? Share below or on social media using #ymsidekick.