Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Why We Should Connect with Our Student

STUDENT MINISTRY: Why We Should Connect with Our Student

At the age of 51, I often feel like a dinosaur in student ministry. My group of students are all younger than my own children. Many of the things current teenagers face are in no way related to my own high school experience. In some ways, we had more freedom during those days.

That difference in culture and environment does not change my need to connect with my students. In fact, it makes it even more important. If we understand a healthy student ministry to be relationship-driven, connection is of incredible value.

It is important to start with the “why.” Why should we connect with a generation that is so different? Why should we navigate the differences and, instead, hone-in on the connecting points? It doesn’t matter if you are just out of high school or 70 years removed from that environment. Our students need us, and here are some reasons why:

• Everyone needs someone to love them. While many of the teenagers in church have parents who love them and express that love, some don’t. These young men and women need to have people in their world who are fond of them and choose to honor them as they can. Imagine hearing about church and a Jesus that loves you, but you don’t see that example lived out within the church. We need to go out of our way to love on these young people.

• Everyone needs someone to value them. Value is a little different than love. While love sees a student where they are and cares for them anyway, value sees who the student is and finds things to highlight and encourage. Do the students in your congregation know how you feel about them? Have you told a student how much you appreciate something about them? Connecting with students means you value you and you are working to encourage them.

• Everyone needs someone to pour into them. Whether it is spiritual truth or life lessons, you have a lot to offer the students in your church. Your life experiences are different than theirs, but there may be enough similarities to pull lessons you can share. Without a relationship with the student, he or she is not going to be motivated to listen. Connection provides the relationship that allows for advice, exhortation and even correction when it is necessary.

• Everyone needs a friend. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Your students may not have many relationships. They may be shy or just unable to connect with people at their school. As a member of their faith family, we need to latch onto these young people. They should never question if anyone would miss them at the weekly worship gathering.

Connection may seem like a lot of effort. Honestly, it can be. When you invite teenagers into your life, it may be a strange ride. There will be weird conversations and you may have to learn a new “language,” but it is totally worth it for them and you.

Join us online and tell us why you think it is important to connect with teenagers. You can join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/StudentMinistryMattersCommunity.

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