Over the last few weeks I’ve been in some circles where I’ve been able to solicit some “student ministry feedback” from pastors, parents, lay leaders and students. Throwing out the comments that were just mean (and likely the issues ran far deeper than the presenting problem), here are three tame ones that I believe youth leaders (specifically those serving in the lead student ministry role) need to hear.
- Our Youth Pastor’s talks aren’t good–they’re always about deep theology stuff and never about the real stuff us teens need to hear.
- My daughter decided long ago that youth group wasn’t for her, the leaders show up at sporting events for other kids, but have never once come to one of her piano recitals or even expressed interest in the stuff she’s passionate about.
- Greg (name changed) is a good guy, but I can’t remember a time he ever asked us, his volunteers, for any ideas or input. I don’t want to just be a chaperone.
If you’re a youth pastor/director, I believe all three of the above issues come back to one thing: relationship.
Those under our care want to be known.
I know it is impossible to know everyone well. I know you have ALL of the other things in your life you are trying to balance and do, but don’t let your natural desire to defend get in the way of hearing this simple point. Sheep are looking for their shepherd. They know your voice and want to be individually known.
This is not a guilt trip, and like I challenged ANY and ALL who issued their “feedback” to be part of the solution, I want to be part of the solution as well. I give all of us in the youth ministry field a “to do today” challenge that I believe will help you in your relationships.
- Tweet (or Facebook): Send a shout-out for all to hear/read about one of your students. (i.e. “was stoked to see @MirandaRocks at youth group last night, her smile always encourages me!”)
- Text: Shoot a group text message out to all your youth leaders praising them and asking for tangible youth ministry input. (i.e. “So thankful for our team. Quick question, shoot me a ministry high & and/or a ministry low for you over the last month”)
- Telephone: Take 5-10 minutes to call a parent you haven’t connected with in awhile and simply ask how you can pray for the family.
- Tell: Share a story in your next talk that is about a student or volunteer team member. The cool thing, this may motivate you to get out and see a recital, play or sporting event!
In all four of these “T’s” you’re simply letting your group and individuals in your group that you want to know, love and listen to them!