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Relational youth ministry might be described as any step toward building a relationship with a student in your ministry. It could be a big step, it could be small—either way, it’s simply the effort toward truly living in community and sharing life together. Of course some of you more theologically minded folks would come up with a much deeper description (likely having something to do with the incarnation), but we like things simple.

Youth ministry should be known for this! Students that are a part of your ministry are there to be known, loved, and cared for. All of these things take time—and time is what we can offer that the world (and too often, parents) isn’t giving teenagers.

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Relational Youth Ministry: The Backbone of what Youth Ministry is All About
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Relational ministry takes time—but not as much as you might think. Here’s a little breakdown and scoring system to help you see how it works…

A student invites you to their track meet. Do you:

• Go to a student’s track meet? [A+, 10 points]
• Gonna be late? No big deal, just show up during the last half of the event? [A+, 10 points]
• Can’t make it at all? Send them a text to see how it went. Still incredible. [A+, 10 points]
• Shoot, it is too late at night to even text now. Say a prayer for them and let them know about it next week at youth group. [A+, 10 points]
It all counts!

Obviously some things ARE bigger than others, but the whole point is that relational ministry is both big and small things. At the very core it’s connecting with a student to let them know you care for them and are there for them.

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Relational Youth Ministry: The Backbone of what Youth Ministry is All About
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This week as you work (and as you encourage your leaders) to be known as a relational youth ministry, challenge them for both outrageous and simple ways to connect with their students—from road trips to camp outs, from birthday parties to a “good luck on the SAT” text. All make a difference and build relationship!

What are some of your best ways to build a relational student ministry?

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