3 Clues To Create What Your Students Crave

Do you like sitcoms?

I wonder what it is about sitcoms that we enjoy?  Is it the humor?  Maybe it is they’re a very convenient length?

The reason may be something totally different; something very powerful for you to understand if you are in youth ministry. It is so simple you may just miss it…

Think, what most if not all sitcoms have.  Cheers had it.  Friends most definitely had it.  You can also see it in Big Bang Theory.

COMMUNITY!

What are some examples or truth statements that show people want or maybe better said, crave community?

 “The search for belonging is part of what it means for humans to be created in the image of God.  People need each other.  We are relational beings.  We not only want to belong, we only come to a true understanding of who we are in our relationships with God and with other people.  We must belong to be fully alive.” Reggie McNeal in Practicing Greatness

We must belong or be part of community to be fully alive!!!  That is a bold statement.

Take the time to press the link and read these passages about Jesus.

What do you notice about Jesus in these passages?

 Your students who are part of the ministry and those that need to be part of the ministry desperately need you to help them belong.  They need you to create community.

Here are 2 senses to use and one quality to measure, to get a clue about how to help build community.

 Seeing

Here are some important questions you need to be looking at;

  • When was the last time you looked at a student or leader openly, without judgment or expectation?
  • When was the last time you tried to look at a student with the eyes of God?
  • When was the last time you allowed someone to see you as you really are?
  • Can someone come into your youth ministry and really be seen?
  • Who might people become if every Christian they encounter beholds them with eyes of love?

Hearing

Some times we get so caught up in getting stuff done that we forget to truly listen to people.

I remember a student wanting to talk to me right before a youth service was supposed to start.  He had just found out that his parents were going to get a divorce.  I quickly stopped the conversation, told him we had to start the service but we could talk afterwords.

I regret it to this day.  I should have taken the time to listen to him.  Who cares if we start 10-15 minutes late.

 Authenticity

Your students want honesty that is not mean.  There is an art to this, but it is worth learning.  Always remember that it is not what you say but how you say it.

Never hid the truth because you are afraid of hurting a students feelings.  Instead, find ways to be truthful while still creating dignity and being loving.  Someone recently said that we are kinder then Jesus when we talk.  Jesus was very good at being honest and not mean.  Reread the story of the women at the well.

How about you? What is your ONE, best clue to add to the list.

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.