So I don’t know if you have noticed yet – maybe you don’t have a TV or any form of social media – but there is a TON of things happening around us. People are flooding to social media putting up opinions for all to see. My mind goes to the question,“What does this mean for my ministry and my students?” Students are seeing a bunch of different articles being posted left and right about a whole bunch of things, and they will have a ton to process and a ton of questions.
Where can they do this safely? My hope is that they can do so in your ministry. One of the safest places on the planet to talk through life, faith, and culture should be their student ministry.
Developmentally, most don’t have the ability to fully process everything they are hearing, reading, and seeing. What does this mean for us as youth pastors? It means we need to provide an atmosphere for students to have conversations about what is going through their heads. When students are talking about stuff, it helps them process their thoughts. When they are processing their thoughts, they are growing and learning.
One of the best things we can do for our student ministries is to make sure we create a safe place for students to think. They need to feel free to bring up doubts and confusions without fear of judgment or ridicule from their pastor or other youth leaders. This will allow them to begin to walk through some great questions on faith, culture, and the doubts and questions that come along with them.
If it’s life transformation we are all after in the lives of students, it starts with learning about the heart, the desires, the thoughts, and the lives of those who are in our care; and pointing them back to Jesus. Your service, program, room (whatever you do) should be a safe place for students to talk and process. We are here to help, guide, and pray with them through it all.
Side note: All of this could be squashed in two seconds by a not-really-thought-through post on social media. They are watching to see how you respond to whatever is big at the time.
Jesus was the best at asking questions. Read the through the Gospels and you will see. Questions start conversations and dig into lives and let people know you care for them. Asking our students questions shows we care about what they have to say, and we can begin these conversations.