Step Away From The Student
flickr photo from Melissa Maples
So after you’ve finally created a relationship with your students, the next step is this: Step away from the Student!
Do you feel your leadership isn’t having the impact it should?
Do you feel like you’re not connecting with your students deeper than a surface level?
Does it seem like your group is with you because they’re checking off the “religious duty” box or the “make my parents happy” box?
That’s because it’s not…and you’re not…and they are.
So do us all a favor and step away from the student. Do it now – I mean like right now.
HERES WHAT I MEAN:
Inherent in the term “student ministry” or “youth ministry” is the problem with how we conduct it.
Your students aren’t just students, they’re an individual with several factes of life that happen outside of their student life. They’re someone’s child (possibly somone’s parent!), friend, sibling, employee, boyfriend/girlfriend, aunt, uncle, relative, etc.
Youth aren’t just youth, they’re a person with a soul, heart, emotions, thoughts, dispositions, beliefs, stances. All of which are repeatedly confronted by their entire life, not just their student life. Youth is a term that’s simply being used to designate their current age demographic. However your “youth” is so much more than just young.
2 Action Steps to Effective Student Ministry
Step 1: Your “student” has a life outside of being a student, engage them holistically.
Step 2: Life exists outside of your designated meeting times and location, invite them into it
When I was in an after school club with my mentors in the faith, the most important thing they did for me was invite me to hang out with them oustide of that club which was held in a school classroom. Stop meeting with your students JUST in a classroom or small group setting and start doing life with them. Get away from the “student” classification of their life and begin to invest into who they are holistically in every part of their life. Invite them to the movies, out to eat, to play ball at the park, to hang out while running errands, anything in addition to that more-than-likely mundane classroom session you hold once a week.
Engage them(when they’re comfortable) about matters of home life, future aspirations, fears, curiosities, disagreements, etc.
What I mean is get away from the “student” part of who they are and engage them as the person they are that holds these different roles, invite them to be more than someone who listens while you teach bible study and someone who just gets to talk about their school life. Engage them as a person whose an entire life to live and not just the life as a student sitting in your weekly bible study.