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GUEST POST: The Secret to Cracking the Tough Nuts

 —  July 23, 2012 — 1 Comment


  • You can invite them to everything, manipulating the times and locations to perfectly line up with their needs.
  • You can have phenomenal promotional material consisting of the slickest logos, edgiest videos and most dynamic social media strategy…
  • You can promise amazing activities with the largest ball pit in the northern hemisphere, hourly laser shows, sweet smelling smoke machines and the grandest coffee machine within a day-and-a-half’s-walk…
  • You can provide the most engaging, inclusive, accepting church service Christendom has ever seen…
  • You can have the friendliest, most welcoming people…
  • You can seemingly offer every incentive shy of an dump truck full of gold bullion…

But still they won’t come and are hesitant to commit.

Perhaps it’s just me and the various settings I’ve done ministry, but within every church is the family which won’t budge. Every youth ministry encounters teens who are tough nuts to crack.

What do you do when you feel like your invitations are falling on deaf ears or your effort is (apparently) going in vain? Do you continue banging your head against the wall?

Often the answer is not a newer, flashier gimmick.

The answer lies somewhere within the following scenario… When a minister moves on from a church some kids and families who’ve struggled to engage do so with “the new guy.”The reason? A fresh voice.

In order to reach the “tough nuts” we need to allow someone else to invite them. We need others to proclaim the “victory stories.” We need others to help champion the cause. We need others to raise a banner.

Sometimes, those who struggle to engage can be reached by the voice of someone who’s not “up the front.”

What other secrets have you found to crack the “tough nuts” in your church?

Graham Baldock is a Youth Pastor from Sydney, Australia and has a youth ministry blog worth checking out at grahambaldock.blogspot.com.

Josh Griffin


One response to GUEST POST: The Secret to Cracking the Tough Nuts

  1. “Tough Nuts” are my favorite (not that I have favorites, but I really enjoy the challenge they bring). For the most part it is helping them overcome this feeling that they need to be the coolest kid there or that not everyone is watching every move they make.

    Usually giving “tough nuts” a little more attention than other students helps because it makes them feel special and just a little bit goes a long way in a situation like this even if it is just a text message or a phone call. Maybe even taking them out for coffee or something if they are willing.

    Really all it comes down to is they need a little bit extra love, whether it is from you or another student. Most of all don’t give up. They will leave you feeling discouraged every which way but never never give up on them.

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