Like I said in part 1, I am a pastor first. That is what I feel like I have been called to do. I love talking with people, about Jesus, and genuinely hanging out with students before and after service. One of my favorite times on the weekends is the 5-10 minutes before service starts as students are sitting down and just going around meeting and talking to people. I love it. Being a pastor, it would be obvious that I am relational.
I think this is the number one thing when it comes to student ministry. Being relational and being authentic in that relationship is the number one thing students’ want/need. If you do not have the relationship side down, there would be no kids to put on a service for.
Jesus led in a way that was relational lead ministry and we can take after Him in that. For people who are all about programming services and that is their main focus and we are supposed to model after Jesus in our leadership and we see Jesus being relational, how do we answer that? We simply cannot just ignore the fact that the entirety of Jesus’ time on this earth was for a relationship with all of us. Jesus just hung out with people, eating, drinking and talking. Much like so many of our students do after service. At least with us, In-N-Out and Chick-fil-a are flooded with students simply just sitting, eating, and hanging out. In Matthew 9:10 (ESV) Jesus is reclining at the table with people, it doesn’t say using Planning Center Online to sort out the next time he was preaching, but just reclining and hanging out.
We need to be able to do this as well. If Jesus took the time to just hang out with some intentional relational ministry, we for sure need too.
The service itself is important yes, but it means nothing if we don’t have relationships to go with it. “Real ministry” happens the 15 minutes before and after the service, and the service is just helping them sit and focus on the area you are speaking about so you can then do the “real ministry” (the prayer, the hanging out, the conversation about what stood out to them, etc.) afterwards.
For some students, they will bring their friends just because they know you are the person they need to talk to about something. The relationship got them there, kept them there, and got them to Jesus. For some students, this wont be enough, they are stand offish and they are only there because the service is exciting and is a cool place to be on a Saturday Night. This is fine too, because if the service is getting them coming, if we are doing our jobs right, that will ultimately turn into a relationship which will turn to trust and then will turn to prayer.
Without relationships, we are missing the purpose that Jesus came to earth for us…to have a relationship with us.
But what about the service? If we have a boring service, then they wont bring their friends? They will be bored to death and won’t come back! These are real questions that I have thought myself. I fall into this way of thinking, but it also is my job to run a successful service. This is something I want to unpack next post.
What do you do on the relational side? Where are some of the best places you hang out and have those “real talks”?