This is a guest post by my good friend Gregg Farah. Gregg is the Student Ministry Pastor at Shelter Rock Church on Long Island, NY. He’s also written books, grieved most Mets’ seasons, and tried his hand at comedy. He blogs www.empoweringstudents.com and can be followed on Twitter @gpfarah.
Little things matter and we know it. We’ve all been irritated by the pebble in our shoe, the mosquito in our sleep, gas passed in the elevator. All require attention, whether we want to give it or not.
The same is true with ministry, except in a positive way. These little things also get attention, but instead of repelling they attract; instead of frustrating, they encourage.
1) Handwritten notes
You may not be aware, but we still have a postal service. In our electronic age, it’s easy to forget, particularly when postal carriers only deliver bills, junk mail, and oversized postcards advertising church services (oops, that was our church). But they’re allowed to deliver good news, too, so give them a chance. I can’t tell you how many student and leader homes I’ve been in that have a postcard I sent hanging on a wall or refrigerator. It has double impact when sending to students, because parents also see them. I can vouch for that when one of my female leaders sent a card to my daughter. Not only was I encouraged (it’s nice when other people build into your child), but my daughter was, too–as evidenced by the card hanging on her wall.
2) Going to games & events
I’ve had several students act indifferent to my attendance at their event, but often their parents call or email to say how excited their teen was that I came. You may not be able to tell by their body language, but their hearts fill. I still laugh at the extreme response given by Chet. I told him I planned on going to his game, but I guess he didn’t believe me. When I arrived in the 3rd inning, I sat in the shade, just off the foul line in right field. Chet saw me while his team was at bat. He left the dugout and jogged out to where I sat and thanked me for coming. I reminded him the game was still going on and that he should probably be with his team, but his ear-to-ear grin cemented in my heart the power of presence.
3) Encouraging parents
I’m weak at this one. Actually, I’m terrible since I can’t think of a simple example of when I’ve done this. But I know it’s important and parents crave it. Part of my problem is that I forget the role parents should have in my ministry. I’m quick to complain about their lack of involvement, but I’m also guilty of not providing opportunities. This is my practice point this week and this summer. I’m going to make calls, write notes, and meet parents for coffee–all with the express purpose of bragging on their kids and finding out how I can pray for them.
Little things matter. Got an itch in an awkward spot? I bet you’ll get creative to scratch it. Our students and parents are itching to be loved and affirmed. Let’s scratch that itch.
Think About It:
1) Who are three people you can write a note to this week? (Don’t forget to buy stamps.)
2) What student can you pop in to see at work or other activity this week or next? (Don’t forget to check their schedule.)
3) What parent have you not connected with lately? Pick a time TODAY to make a call or send an email. (I’m doing it now…DONE!)
Question: What other LITTLE things can make a BIG difference in ministry?
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