Early in ministry I tried to do everything and not put anything extra on our volunteers. I quickly found that volunteers needed direction and some goals to aim at. When you have a goal, you know what’s expected of you and you aim to hit that target. Help your leaders succeed and give them some direction and goals. Here are 5 targets for your leaders to aim at every time they are with students. Notice I said every time, not just Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights. Every time they are with students (ie. at a game, choir concert, campus visit (careful on the prayer one here), mall hang out, etc.).
1) Learn names – Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that you are not good with names. Become good with names. Become better at names than anyone you know. I recently did a post on how to remember names better. Names are extremely important, and if you say you are not good with names, you are essentially saying you don’t care to remember the most important thing about a person. Change that!
2) High 5/Pound it – Students need positive touch. I know that may sound weird, but it’s true. So many students don’t receive any touch or hardly at all, or if they do it isn’t positive or healthy. When you see a student, put your hand or fist up and connect. If it gets awkward because they go for the fist and you have a hand up, just grab their fist and say, “Lunch bag!” We usually have a line of leaders at the doors as we open up the youth room high fiving as they all come in.
3) Meet 3 new people – When a student you know has a friend with them, have them introduce you. Get to know them a bit and let them know you are glad they are there. Have a goal of meeting 3 new students every place you go. This is where it will be key for you to be good at remembering names!
4) Pray for at least 1 person – When you are talking with students, they will often give you glimpses into what is going on in their world. If you hear them say something that may be significant, ask more about it. If they are worried about something (stress, anger, sadness, whatever), find out as much as you can. Then ask if you can pray for them right there. Don’t say, “I’m praying for you” and not actually pray for them. Take a minute right there and pray for them. That is something that will stand out to them for a long time.
5) Follow up – Take notes on conversations you have had. Write down names of students you’ve met and any info you can remember about them. Write down things you need to be praying for. Take notes on what upcoming events they are going to be a part of. When you see them next you can ask about whatever it is they talked about from the last time. That shows the student that your conversation with them wasn’t just something you were supposed to do, but that you actually listened to and cared.
When you have a goal, you will aim at it. If you don’t have a goal, you will hit it every time…you will hit nothing.
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– Erik with a “K”