Meeting people for the first time is stressful for many, especially when it comes to students. I wanted to give you tips for helping your youth ministry volunteers meet students, because often times, they are meeting students that may not want to meet them. Also, you’re meeting students who have no motivation for being in conversation with you, so the pressure is all on you. Well, over the years I’ve come up with a small strategy that takes the pressure off.
For some of you these maybe super helpful, and for most of you these may be just reminders.
A few things we need to remind ourselves:
- The burden is on us to lead the conversation – We drive the conversation, not the student. I’ve learned that they are looking for us to lead because it’s awkward and we are the leaders. So look to approach and lead the conversation.
- Keep the conversation simple – You don’t have to wow them with your words or knowledge. Just let the conversation flow. Don’t feel the burden of having to change their life with one conversation. I’ve learned and experienced that the conversation that changes a student’s life is the one that God chooses and uses. You don’t have a say-so in the matter.
- Prep Questions To Ask – I try and have 20 questions to ask that helps me guide the conversation. These questions help me keep the conversation going. When one of the questions get some traction I stay with it. I ask some subset of questions until that trail goes cold, and then I go back to my list of twenty. Here are a few of the 20 and a subset to each:
- What’s your name?
- Were you named after anyone?
- Do you play a sport?
- How was or how is your season going?
- What school do you attend?
- Favorite Class and why?
- Do you have any siblings?
- Do you like them..haha?
- What’s your name?
- Know When To Shut It Down – You have to recognize when the conversation is not going anywhere. You may need to build more of a relationship with the kid before they let you in. So you may need to hang out a few times and give them time to trust you.
- Remember to pray – It’s important that you offer up your preparation in everything you do to God. Your preparation does nothing without God’s power. So remember to pray for God’s power, and for His spirit to lead and guide your conversations.
For students to be known within youth group is a very important value I believe we should all share. And I firmly believe success comes in this area when we are intentional about it. God uses our simple conversations among other things to let students know that He loves them, sees them, hears them, knows them and cares all about them. So let’s be intentional.
What are some other ways for us to be intentional in our conversations with new students?
Hope it helps,