Alive and Learning: Connecting With Students
This summer, our Student Ministry program made the trek to Canal Fulton, Ohio for Alive 2009. Alive is a 4-day “Christian Music” Festival that involves popular CCM musicians and bands, speakers, workshops, seminars, camping, swimming and the opportunity to purchase nearly any popular “Christian Media” you could desire. This post is part of a series aimed at sharing my experiences during the week and what I learned through the process so that you might learn from our successes and failures.
I touched on today’s topic briefly in a previous post, but I wanted to expand on it a bit more. When you find yourself spending several days literally living with teenagers, you will find yourself entering into a different type of relationship with them. Normally you would send them home after a few hours of studying Scripture or hanging out. But here you are eating with them, sleeping near them, attending the same activities, playing the same games… you get the picture.
You are doing life together.
So encourage all the leaders in your group to take advantage of this opportunity. Over the course of the week teens will be forced to be authentic with you, to let the facade fall away and to let you see the real person. Cracks, shortcomings, temper and all. And likewise, you will be pushed to the limits with them as well, allowing them to glance some of your raw personality quirks.
Don’t be afraid to get dirty.
Take advantage of this time to get to know the real student. Ask questions that lead to discussion about deeper truths. Share some of your own frustrations, excitements and hopes. Make every effort to connect with students in authentic ways. Don’t hide behind the role of adult leader or Youth Pastor. Sure, the role needs to be upheld, but don’t limit yourself to it, or you will miss out on one of the greatest opportunities to do ministry you will ever find yourself in. Living alongside the teens you are ministering to and with.
Encourage all of your leadership to do the same thing…
Other Posts in This Series:
Alive & Learning: Going With the Flow
Alive & Learning: Connecting With Parents
Alive & Learning: Schedules & Discipline
Alive & Learning: Isn’t Everyone Here a Christian?
Alive & Learning: Touching Base With Your Group
Alive & Learning: If You’re Not Offended Yet…
Alive & Learning: Bringing It All Home