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Josh and Kurt wrote a great article the other day about being available for students—especially in times of emergency or crisis—and their points were right on. As I write this, one of my high school students is sitting on the couch across from me because a few hours ago he texted me and asked if I could find him a safe place to stay after a serious altercation with a parent tonight.

I am so thankful that I was awake, that I had my phone on, and that my wife understands that sometimes being a youth pastor means driving at 1AM to pick up a student in crisis.

These moments where we have the opportunity to be there in crisis are huge for three reasons.

It shows they are important: Crisis moments for students are disorienting, scary, and oftentimes lonely. When you or one of your leaders is able to drop what you are doing and show up, the message is loud and clear to the student: You matter.

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It shows them Jesus: In the midst of a busy ministry where you’re being pulled in all kinds of directions, it’s reasonable that many students and leaders are looking for your time. When a student is in crisis, there is an opportunity to have a Matthew 9 moment. Jesus is walking through the crowd and stops when he feels someone touch his robe. In the midst of a bustling crowd, he stops and focuses on the needs of the one. The same opportunity is there for us, to stop in the midst of everything to focus on the one student in need and show Christ’s love.

It provides a safe space: For many students, the crisis moments involve them needing to get out of a situation either at home or at school, where they feel that they are unsafe or scared. Giving a student reprieve, and a place to talk to someone they trust and who can be objective, is key. The conversations are often more listening for us than talking, but the “Be There” factor as Josh and Kurt mentioned is powerful. Let them talk.

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When a student is in crisis, it’s so important that someone is available for them, to help, to talk, to pray, and support them in what can be a very disorienting time. The statement will come through loud and clear—that they matter and cared for.

1 COMMENT

  • trevor davis says:

    I have to agree. Being available is huge especially in crisis. This hits home to me because right now I am preparing for the memorial services of two well know high school students this friday and Saturday. I was able at my high school request to counsel students at the school this week as well as be a part of everything the school needed. Not just our students need us but the community when things like this happen. I have been running 24 7 because of this event and while it sucks…. (neither kids were believers and mom first told me No “God talk” at the services) I am still happy I can represent Jesus and the body of caring believers to students and this community.

    My ah ha moment though really came to me in the article when I thought about the consequences on my and my two kids. Being in ministry for 20 plus years has taught me I need to take care of myself and my family after something like this too. And that directly affects my regular responsibilities here at church.

    http://www.paradisepost.com/ci_21880822/ridge-schools-recovering-after-tragic-deaths?source=rss_viewed

    To be healthy I work at a place that recognizes the drain something like this takes in being “available”. The flip side being I need to recover from times of “extreme availability” like this. Therefore the leadership of my church recognize this. I have cancelled this Sundays youth services and am leaving town to go to Disneyland with my kids to recover:) ( we have had two church times this week abotu the tragedy too soo our kids our cared for too.)This has to be valued by the leadership of your church. If they do not value your availabilty as much as your need for your Physical,emotional and spiritual tanks to be refilled then I offer you personally limit that availability for the sake of your health and your family. Do not become one of my former fellow youth workers because you have been “available” without recovering from that. YOUTH MINISTRY IS A MARATHON. I YOU RUN IT LIKE THE HUNDRED METER HURDLES YOU WILL BECOME ONE OF THOSE FORMER YOUTH PASTORS. AVAILABILITY NEEDS EQUAL REPRESENTATION WITH RECOVERY.

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