Another episode in the HSM Sports Minute series from this past weekend!
Another episode in the HSM Sports Minute series from this past weekend!
During a recent brainstorm of ways to love and serve our local campuses, we decided to focus on ASB (student government). I donâ€™t know about your schools, but our ASB teams work so hard so support and entertain their schools. Because of their hard work, we came up with a few ways to show our support:
-Encouraging Notes. As youth workers, we know how hard it can be to entertain teenagers. Unfortunately, so does ASB. It is rare for these hard working to receive praise or acknowledgement for their effort. Try to get all of the names of the student government at a school and have some of your students write letters to them. Being able to tell the ASB that they are loved and appreciated is a guaranteed win at any school.
-Event Set-Up/Clean-Up. Having your ministry as a whole be available to help them set up and tear down their events can be huge. Sometimes the events that ASB throws areÂ massive (i.e. dances, shows, etc.) and they require a lot of manpower to pull off. Again, we know how tiring it can be to be the first to arrive to an event and the last to leave, so we know how much it means to have someone offer to help. This is a great way to have your students be servants at their school.
-Bringing Food. This was an idea that one of our students came up with. Offering to bring a home cooked meal on a day that ASB is working late could mean the world to them. And it doesnâ€™t always have to be some extravagant ordeal; it could even be something as simple as brownies or cookies. Putting in that effort could go a long way with showing love to the student government.
-Treat the Director. Donâ€™t forget to include the ASB director! They are the ones that really help pull everything off! They are the ones that are empowering their students to make a difference at their schools. Many of our studentsâ€™ lives have been changed by being in ASB, so it was so important to us to make that known to the directors. This could be something as easy as a Starbucks card and a handwritten note. Make sure they know how much they are appreciated and make sure they know your ministry is here to support them. Include your contact information so that they can let you know if they could ever use a hand. It is a GREAT way to build relationships with faculty!
We could not be more excited to get moving on all of these projects! Our ministry really believes in putting effort into campus outreach. It makes a huge impact on not just the campuses, but in our students as well.
Supporting ASB is one of the ways we are doing campus outreach, what is your ministry doing to serve the local high schools?
Applications for our student leadership program are opening up again in a few weeks and it has me reflecting on what I look for in a student leader. Over the past week, I decided that I want our student leaders to be a leader third. Before they can be a student leader, they need to be a Christ follower first and a servant second:
1. Christ Follower
Student leaders are the ones that make things happen. But one of the first things I tell student leaders is, â€œthis isnâ€™t ASB.â€ I think it is important to make the point that they arenâ€™t planning events and running ministries just for fun, they are doing it to help fulfill the purposes of the Church. A leader of a ministry isnâ€™t like the leader of a club. A leader of a ministry is the spiritual leader of a group of people. In order to have a team that can be spiritual leaders of your ministry, you need to have a team of students that are pursuing the Lord. Before you say yes to putting a student in your leadership program, make sure you know what is happening in their spiritual life. Ask them questions about their relationship with the Lord, what their quiet times look like, where they are being challenged, etc. Dig deep. Donâ€™t be afraid to talk to a spiritual leader in a studentâ€™s life or even a parent!
Is this student serving already? One of the mistakes that I have made is overlooking this on some applicants. In my mind, I thought, â€œI can help motivate them to start serving.â€ But that isnâ€™t something you should have to say about a student leader. Student leaders are the ones that are already serving in your ministry. Sometimes this means saying no to popular students in your youth group. When I took a closer look at our â€œcoreâ€ students, I found that most of them werenâ€™t serving. Saying no to students like this might be tough, but it is a perfect opportunity to really challenge them and take them to the next level. Do be on the look out for students that are serving on ministry teams, showing up to serve projects, staying after events to clean-up, or just students that are servants in your ministry.
When I look for students that have leadership potential, I look for those two things. The more I develop our program, the harder I get on student leadership applicants. Donâ€™t be afraid to say a few noâ€™s. Letting in students that arenâ€™t ready can make your program ineffective, or worse, harmful to your ministry. Saying no to some students is okay. It is healthy for your program and it is helpful to grow the student that needs to grow.
Continued our HSM Sports Minute series this past week – just so you know, in most cases the students have NO idea they are being featured in the videos! Fun.
As some of you know, this Wednesday was the annual event, See You at the Pole. SYATP (See You at the Pole) is a national day of prayer, where students come to school early to pray and worship together at their flagpole. Our ministry made a huge push for it this year and it turned out to be a huge win! I would promote SYATP to any youth group and here are a few reasons why:
-Unification. This event is geared towards uniting the Body of Christ at a school. One of the responsibilities of the student leader in charge of SYATP is to promote this event to all of the Christian clubs and organizations at the school. I think that when there are more than one Christian club at a school, there can be a rivalry that develops, but events like these, if done right, shatters this and helps them realize that they both have the same goal, to be a light and serve at their school. It is also fun to go and meet and build relationships with students and youth pastors from the areaâ€¦ you can never have too many friends!
-Long Term Results. While SYATP is a totally awesome program, it is only once a year. What we wanted to see happen was a fire sparked in the campusâ€™ heart. We wanted this to inspire the Body at their school to love and serve their school in a way that they havenâ€™t before. What was cool was seeing students posting their ideas on how to keep things like this going. There have already been talks of a campus prayer walk at one of our schools!
-Leadership Experience. SYATP is a completely student lead activity, which I LOVE. The cool thing is that the SYATP website (syatp.com) sets students up for success. It has a checklist of all of the things you need to do/think about when you are planning the event at your school. One of the cool things about this event is that it is a success/fail opportunity. One key element of growing leaders is giving them the freedom to fail. As their pastor, we are willing to help if they ask, but we canâ€™t waste these unique opportunities to build up leaders. Failure doesnâ€™t always mean the event is a complete disaster; failure can look like weak programming, bad promotion, poor team communication, etc. We just need to be there to help them learn from their mistakes so that the experience wasnâ€™t in vain.
I am a huge believer in See You at the Pole and I hope that it is something that you at least look into for the schools in your area! Do you have a story from a See You at the Pole event?
Another edition of the HSM Sports Minute (see Volume 1 here). REALLY loving this series! Such a simple, current connection to their world. If you get good enough you could film a new video in 1 minute each week!
1. Go to More Student Activities. This is something I didnâ€™t do nearly enough as I shouldâ€™ve last year. Showing up to a game, play, concert, etc. makes a HUGE impact on students. Showing up to an event says that you care about what they care about. It is something that will stick with them. Recently, a co-worker and I went to a high school football game to see two of our students perform as the school mascots (hilarious). I was blown away by the response that we got from students! Students would climb over people in the stands to come say high to us and hang out with us! It is such a good tool for relational ministryâ€¦ too good to pass up.
2. Write More Letters.Â I was talking with a student recently about how much he hated getting mail. He said that the only thing that he ever gets in the mail is report cards, which sucks. Because of that, I decided that I am going to send at least one encouraging note to a student in the mail per week for the next year. I feel like there is something so personal about getting a letter from someone. We are so used to text messages and emails that it really means a lot when someone takes the time to write and mail a letter. Plus it is something that the student can revisit. I’m all about it.
3. Build Relationships with High School Faculty. On the first day of school, students from our ministry covered their campus with encouraging sticky notes. The next week, I spoke on the phone with the school’s Student Government Director and she RAVED about our students. It would have been cool if she stopped there, but she then let us know about an upcoming event that we could be a part of! Relationships with faculty are powerful. I am stoked to continue building relationships with the schools. I want them to know that we are here to support them and partner with them. I want them to know that we are here to serve in any way possible.
What are you committed to doing this school year?
Experimenting with connecting our high school ministry more directly with high school culture – here’s a take on sports that played during youth services last week. Fun, and shows us caring about their world. Not sure how much legs it’ll have, but I sure like the concept!