Students are the DNA of your student ministry… obviously. And you know them best. You know their interests, hobbies, families, friendships, relationships, and needs. If you are new to your Student Ministry Team or are new to your area, these are aspects of your students you may not know… YET. Do not worry, it does take some time to figure them out. Heck, the students do not even know who they are in Middle and High School.
The thing I love most about Middle and High School students is… they are not afraid to answer questions. Some of my greatest connects with students came at the beginning of my ministry at First West. I would take a girl to coffee and tell her I was going to ask her questions the whole time. My interest in knowing her, made her feel loved and connected. So, when reaching out to students, do not be afraid to ask questions.
Not everything you do has to be pretty and put together. The best discipleship happens in the middle of real life. Jesus did not put on cute events for His disciples, He walked with them. He saw their worst, He saw their best, and He loved them through it and flooded them with His wisdom. Here are a couple of ways you can make intentional connections to disciple your students:
- Send a text to a student with a piece of scripture you are studying- ask them to share what God teaches them through those verses (Every single time- the Lord speaks to me through what the student teaches me).
- If you have the opportunity to teach from platform or in a bible study setting- grab a couple of girls and study/talk through the scripture you are teaching together.
- Coffee and food always breed connections.
- Invite them to your home- chit chat as you prepare a meal with them.
- Fingernail polish keeps nails pretty and conversation flowing. Letting your nails dry gives plenty of time for conversation.
- Invite them to go to the grocery store with you—be intentional to have a spiritual conversation with the person at the cash register.
- Find out one of their hobbies—participate with them. (If they like to run… run, if tennis is their niche… make a fool of yourself playing tennis)
- Attend their extracurricular activities… Your presence matters.
- Follow up with students when you know they have had a big test or competition.
- If you have children, let them see how you raise your family… When your kid disobeys allow them to see how you confront their disobedience in a godly manner.
- Call and talk with their parents… with no agenda. Just get to know them and pray for them. Parents will tell their students you called to check in and pray with them.
- Bring a student with you when you speak at conferences or school bible studies—ask them what the Lord spoke to them. Not only will they hear from God but they will see how you interact with people.
- Simply read scripture with them.
- Send snail mail to students.
- Pray for five students a day—text them and ask how you can specifically pray for them.
- Go visit them at school lunches.
- Interact with them on social media. There is a healthy way to do this.
- With their permission—use their stories as illustrations with in your teaching. For example, if a girl you mentor resolved conflict in a godly way—share her (do not use her name) situation. This will help her see you are listening and you are proud of her.
Use your creativity to connect with students. Intentional connections can be both free and profitable.