Intentional, relational, authentic ministry. I would like to think this is the goal for everyone and anyone in youth ministry. Students are the most accurate “B.S. Detectors” and can sniff out a fake from a mile away. One thing that has been on my heart lately is being real, genuine and intentional about relationships with students that I know well and students I just met. Whether is was the sleep over I had at my apartment for some of my small group guys who I know really well and love or the students I met for the first time at our 80’s Ice Skating Event, being intentional about the relationship I start and develop with them is key. What does it say?
- I Care About You– In any case with a student, whether how well you know them, any step you take into getting to know them a little better than you already do, shows them that you care. It is really easy just to say hi during the service, but to ask them about themselves, how their relationship is with God and simply just have fun, shows how much they mean to you and that you care for them.
- I’m Not Just Another Face– I am really bad with names. I mean, I’m awful with names. It’s embarrassing. Being intentional about remembering a new persons name will go further than you can even think of. Just the other day, another leader told me that a student who I met once before, who has not been to church in a month, said I remembered her name and it made her feel so welcome and loved that she had to tell a leader and was glad she was back. It then sparked a great conversation. Make their face known.
- You’re Proud of Me? – I have been making a point to tell the students who are serving in our ministry to help me pull off our weekends that I am so thankful for what they do and that they contribute so much to the weekend and that I am proud. Never have I ever said that and have someone be upset or angry. Their face lights up. These can be a game changer knowing that you, their leader, are proud of what they are doing.
- You’re a Nerd. Me Too. Let’s Be Friends– Sometimes to break the ice, you have to look stupid and make them laugh. Since laughing is one of my favorite things, I like to assume everyone else likes to as well. Sometimes you have to look dumb and not care what others think. This works for me at least. For example, I met a ton of new students at our last event. I showed all of them a new dance move I made up called “The Knowles” (a video will be made someday with this, I promise). I looked dumb, but I got the whole group of new students to do it as well and spread the word. 2 days later I got a Facebook message about how excited they were that they made a new friend by doing the dance move to a student, and a friendship started.
These are my own personal intentional relational goals that I am working on. If you have any personal goals as well, please share! We are all in this together.