I think one of the hardest things when it comes to services is numbers. I love them and I hate them. Love it when the attendance is good, it’s always high, they are bringing friends. It’s like all of a sudden a plague hit and you are left with half of what you are used to getting and you cannot help wonder what you have done as a leader to cause that. Chances are, nothing at all. Students get busy and they lose track of priorities throughout their high school career. While we think our group is always a top priority, some students (and parents) tend to not think so during some years and their actions show it. I know this is my struggle this year. So how do you keep moving forward when some stop coming? Here is how I’m doing it.
Focus on those who come – In all honesty, as hard it is not to take it personally, the ones that are coming are coming because they have made it a priority. How would it be fair to them if all I did was focus on the ones who were not their? Students that come are there, so invest in them like crazy. Chances are, the conversations that will happen because there are fewer students than normal will be way more impactful because you will be able to focus on them and only them. Even though I was bumming out for a while, the conversations I have had this year already make up for any pity party I threw myself. In the end, relationships matter, so build up the ones with the ones that come.
Don’t forget about the ones not there – So what about the ones who are not there or are not coming? Forget them. Just kidding. Even though they are not there in group, doesn’t mean you write them off. Reach out to them and let them know they are missed in group. I text every guy who does not come to group to let them know they were missed. I also have been trying to get better at setting up a lunch or Starbucks run during the week for those who can’t make it. I might meet one student and get their info and they will never come again. I still text, call, Facebook them letting them know they always have a place.
God can still move – Knowing this last point does not let me get too discouraged for too long. God is faithful. God is a pursuer. God can still move in those student who do not come anymore. They may have their priorities mixed up, they might not think they need group or God anymore, but if they know they have a loving leader who loves God and constantly reminds them they are loved by a loving God, God can and will still move in the lives of those students. I believe that 100%. That’s how I know I can keep going even when some students stop coming. I can’t tell you how many times a student who stopped coming hit me up on Facebook or gave me a call years later letting me know they appreciated being reminded I was aways there for them when they needed. Keep going. Keep praying for them. God can still move.