1. Attend students’ activities. The sports games, the art shows, the plays … whatever the student’s niche is – be there! You’ll have a lot more to talk about when you see their victories.
2. Text specific prayers. After a student shares something they’re struggling with, make sure to follow up with them about it later and ask how you can continue to pray for them.
3. Use social media as a tool. A lot of youth pastors follow their students on social media to stay connected and learn more about their lives.
4. Have lunch with students. Great conversations happen when you break bread with someone. This extra time also shows your students how much you care for them.
5. Connect to the parents. Who knows you better than your mom? Establish a connection with your students’ parents and the benefits will be mind-blowing.
6. Connect to the siblings. They may fight like cats and dogs, but siblings are oftentimes closer to students than anyone else in their lives. Helping and caring about a sibling can be a game-changer to your students’ perspectives.
7. Include your spouse. A lot of healthy youth ministries include dynamic husband-wife duos in which students have more options in who to confide in. Guiding students to Christ starts with comfortable connections.
8. Do stuff together at the church. It doesn’t have to be Sunday – enjoy silliness, fun and games, or serve and work hard – use the church building as a place of community where great memories are made.
9. Help students study. Bible studies are the most important, but helping a student study for school can be a tremendous act of love and make a huge impact on a family.
10. Be vulnerable with students. Don’t be closed off to your students about your life – they’ll sense it. Step out in faith and share your personal story with them. God brought you together for a reason.
Your ministry will be what God wants it to be. Rejoice in the glorious presence of our Savior when He blesses your relationships with your students.
Becca Haines is a communications coordinator for Christ In Youth.