I’m all about awkward moments. I think I put people in awkward situations all the time because I absolutely love it (is that mean?). A lot of people hate awkwardness and they do whatever it takes to avoid those certain circumstances. I would have to say that students are the ones who hate it the most. They are all about image and do not want to be embarrassed. Just watch how red their face gets when you ask them about whom they are into or dating. Awkward moments happen in ministry. Whenever you meet a new student for the first time and try to get to know them, it has the tendency to be super painful.
We need to embrace the awkwardness, and push through it.
Those situations will help you grow in more ways than non-awkward feeling of playing the comfortable route and going to the students that you already know. Everyone wins if we can learn how to push through the awkwardness of going up to a random bunch of students to introduce yourself and get talking. If we go into the conversation knowing that its going to be awkward at first, for both you and the students, once you find that one thing you have in common, BOOM! You’re in, and the conversation will flow.
How do you do that? Being that I am the new guy where I am at right now, all of the students are new to me, so I have had to start many awkward conversations. Some go great, some do not, but I at least made the connection. I basically bombard them with questions: What’s your name? What school do you go to? How long have you been coming to this service? Do you play any sports? What do you do for fun? What are your favorite movies? Do you play video games? Where is your favorite place to eat?
Once you find one thing, you roll with it and the connection is made. We just need to push past the one-word answers and shrugs until we find the one thing that that student is passionate about and we roll with it.
You then will feel accomplished because you have made that connection, and the new students will feel they now know someone in the ministry and will most likely be willing to come back because you embraced the awkwardness to make them a friend. Now they have someone to look for the next time they come back.
Question: What are some ways you have found that break the awkward barrier?