Youth leaders can pour God’s truths about value, love and confidence into students’ lives in these four ways.
1. Keep consistency in your ministry. How do you tell a kid they’re enough, and have them believe it? That’s a hard question but a lot of the answer comes down to being consistent. Consistency in ministry is huge. If you’re in and out, you’re showing the students it’s OK to be in and out of anything – conversations, decisions or even time with God. Consistently giving your time, energy and love shows them they have worth, otherwise they might not always believe they do. Show them persistent, unceasing love because that’s exactly what the love of God is – consistent.
2. Be aware of the moment. Middle school life is precious because it’s a few short years, and youth leaders can impact that positively or negatively. Adults can unintentionally worsen a student’s insecurity by dismissing them or making a joke at the wrong time. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the moment and how much it can mean to a young person.
3. Know that it’s not all on you. A person’s self-worth isn’t dependent on just one person. That’s why it takes a community of people to make a positive influence on a student’s life. You should deeply consider how God can use you to influence students’ lives, but also realize it’s not your sole responsibility to keep a student from succumbing to the world. Don’t blame yourself if your students struggle, but know that you can aid them in their journey to confidence.
4. Pray specifically about insecurity. When this conversation comes – and it may or it may not at this age – encourage your students that living in confidence looks different than just putting on the face of confidence. We want our students to not only walk in confident faith but to also show us vulnerability when speaking about their struggles, and within that we’ll defeat insecurity. Being vulnerable isn’t weakness or insecure, it’s a bold willingness to let someone in to talk courage, confidence and insecurity. It’s a huge conversation and an even bigger prayer for a middle schooler, and it all comes down to building your house upon the rock and not the sand. If our talents, abilities, gifts and treasures are built on the strong foundation of God, that’s when they’ll become something greater than we could ever imagine.
Keep in mind that so much of students’ lives are lived on social media where they’re constantly reminded of things they’re excluded from, and essentially compared to their peers. It’s so easy for them to slap a filter on their status and tell the world they’re fine. Middle schoolers are just like everyone else – we all want to be seen, known and loved. If they can learn at this age they’re loved by the Father and understand how important it is to love themselves, that’s a healthy step in the right direction to defeat insecurity.
Mallory Jenkins is a MIX program coordinator for Christ In Youth. Her email is Mallory.firstname.lastname@example.org.