The other week we had a senior girl share her testimony at our high school program. Â It was powerful. Â Afterwards her peers came up and showed her love. Â What made the testimony even better was the fact that we recorded and placed the video on our student ministry Facebook page (With parent permission). Â In return she received several compliments and words of love from peers, parents and adults in our church. Â The next time I saw her you could tell there was an extra bounce in her step.
You are called to walk with students in their faith journey. Â During that journey they will face hopeless moments where they will need encouragement to survive. Â One of your roles as their youth minister is to cheer them on, affirm their choices and make sure they are being loved. Â While there are many ways of doing this five that I would recommend are:
- Bragging About Them Publicly:Â At first a teen might be slightly embarrassed but giving them praise in front of a crowd is huge. Â It lets them know that they are so great that you don’t want to hide it. Â By telling your audience why this person is awesome you affirm them as a role model (especially to their younger peers).Â
- Touch Base Before Something Big:Â Text them, write on their wall, send them a tweet or take them out for a bite to eat right before something big. Â As a kid my mom used to write notes on my lunch bag before a big test. Â It was a little embarrassing; however, it was reassuring to know someone was thinking of me. Â The beauty of social media is you can let your teens know that you are thinking about them moments before they embark in the battles of teenage life.
- Call Up Their Parents:Â One way to motivate teens is to do it through their parents. Â When a parent feels supported in the job that they are doing they’ll pass along the extra encouragement to their teens. Â And there is nothing better than boosting a teen’s morale through their family.
- Thank Them For Being Them: They don’t have to doÂ something impressive, unexpected or selfless, just let them know their appreciated. Â It will especially means something if you can send a hand written note. Â Many times teens are working to be someone they are not. Â When you thank them for being simply themselves you show them God’s authentic love.
- Utilize Physical Affirmation: Next time you see a student give them a hug, shake their hand and let them know you are proud of them. Â This is intimidating because of the scandals and controversy out there. Â If you are unsure just make sure you aren’t alone (Especially with the opposite sex). Â Be consistent; but, don’t be afraid to give them positive contact. Â It’s the intimacy they might be missing in their lives.
You can assume that your student’s know how you feel; however, with all the voices they face on a daily basis you need to make your’s louder. Â When teens know they are loved, they will feel like they belong. Â When they feel like they belong they’ll be more open to hearing the Good News. Â Let them know how much they are truly loved.
How do you boost teen morale in your youth ministry?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)