article.2013.04.23This week we’re going to simply knock out 20 ways you can increase the level of relational ministry in your youth group. Quick, random, hits that we hope inspire you to try something new, too!

1. Add a greeting time in youth group. Give them a couple minutes to help new people feel welcome.

2. Spend time with a student every day. It doesn’t have to be physical, face-to-face, time send them a quick text, comment on their Facebook, like an Instagram picture, etc. Just make contact with one or two students every day.

3. Start an Instagram account for your ministry. Post pictures every week of people, not places.

4. Give out your personal cell phone number instead of the church office line you completely ignore.

5. Walk slowly through church this week. You might be surprised at who stops to talk to you when you aren’t hurried.

6. Let someone else teach so you can work the room.
7. Allow volunteers to have their own style don’t force extroverts into draining conversations with one person, or kill introverts by having them be up front.

8. Ask for your office hours to be trimmed 1 hour so you can be with students.

9. Go to the FCA huddle or Christian club on campus once a week.

10. Pick a sport or fine arts event to be at. Enjoy as much of it as you can, then text the student(s) afterward to congratulate them for a job well done.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

We recently had a youth pastor ask us where to start with campus-based ministry. At the end of the day, our campus outreach program is based in 3 relationships:

Students: We work a ton through the Christian clubs on campus. I meet regularly with the leadership teams of each club and help them out with service projects (lunch trash pickup, writing encouraging letters to the staff, etc.) events, getting speakers, advertising, and I provide them with resources and connections. I help them think big and make sure they know that they are callable of HUGE things. I make sure I am available to help encourage them, pray with them, and help them work through any issues they might have.

Other on campus Christian organizations: The main organization in our area is Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They are awesome. They already have some roots laid out at our schools, making them a valuable ally. They recognize that they aren’t a church, so they love to point their students to local churches. So we make ourselves available to them in whatever way we can help. That could be giving them resources, providing connections, making our buildings available, prayer, or more. We help each other out. One of the things we are working on now is a leadership summit for all of the Christian club leaders in the area.

Staff/Administration: We consistently look for ways to build our relationships with schools. We are focusing right now on principals and ASB (student government) directors. Right now, I am meeting with all of the major principals and ASB directors in the area so that I am more than just a name in an email. I want to be able to build a friendship with them. I want them to know that they can trust us and that we are here to serve. Together, we brainstorm different ways that we can serve their campus, students, teachers, and staff. Besides the meetings, we have built relationships through simple things like Christmas cards. The service projects that we have done on their campuses have also been able to help our relationship.

Campus outreach is a slow build, high reward ministry. It takes time to build relationships and find a system but, once you do, the potential is limitless.

Colton Harker is the Student Leadership Director at Saddleback HSM.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact him at coltonharker@gmail.com or on twitter at @ColtonHarker.



POLL: On-Campus Ministry

Josh Griffin —  September 18, 2012 — 5 Comments


I’ve been spending more time on high school campuses as we kick off fall (hey, it is football season what can I say?). Made me think of a poll question to get the pulse on youth workers – how much are you on campus? I realize the openness of school varies greatly, but eager to see what you’re ministry there looks like. Vote now!

JG

The start of the new school year has meant that the process of reintroducing myself to our local high school’s Administrators has begun as I re-explain my motives and purpose for visiting the high schools. It is a lot of work, but the fruit that comes of it is immeasurable. Here are 3 reasons why we do it.

Encouragement & Support: Showing up at a high school, walking down the hallway and remembering a students name is a powerful thing to them. You are telling them that they matter. They might be having a bad day, but you arriving on their turf, just to visit, can provide a huge boost. Pulling them aside and praying for them or just being interested in what is happening says a lot to a student that feels invisible in a school of 2000+ people (this is assuming that every youth goes to a school of 2000+). Talk about being like Christ, showing up where people are at, in their school. It’s really enjoyable to see students in “their natural environment”

Connection: Showing up in the school gives me face time with students I would likely never have the opportunity to spend time with, and for a student that has not shown up at our program for a few weeks, it might be an opportunity to reconnect, check in, and find out what is going on. Perhaps there is something they need prayer about. Just this week, I went to a local school to meet up with a student that was struggling to transition into High School I met up with her and happened to bump into another student (God moment) who just moved here and was in the same boat. We hung out, ate lunch, they swapped numbers, and the rest, well, we’ll see…..

Conversation Catalyst: We do not hand anything out while visiting school, nor do we invite anyone to our youth group because that is not my role. My absolute favorite bi-product of visiting the high schools is that I will often meet groups of two or three of our students and inevitably one or two of their friends who are not connected to the Church. We shoot the breeze, talk about their weeks, how school is going etc., give them a high five, and that’s it. But what happens after is incredible, because afterwards I often here, these words.

“Who was that?”

“Oh, that’s my Youth Pastor, Geoff”

“Youth Pastor? You go to church?”

“Yeah, I do……..

I don’t always know where those conversations go, if they end quickly or carry on, but I do know that many friends of students that I met have started attending our youth group, gotten connected, and given their lives to Christ.

Visiting the high schools can be time consuming, and for some really intimidating, but what an encouragement we can be to students, and from what I have seen even help important conversations about God happen, just by being there. Make time for it. It’s incredibly important to be in the schools if they are willing to let us in.

Geoff Stewart is the Pastor of Jr & Sr High School for Journey Student Ministries at Peace Portal Alliance Church and regularly contributes GUEST POSTS to MTDB. Be sure to check out his Twitter stream for awesome ministry goodness. Want to get in on the fun and write up a guest post yourself? See how right here.



Doug Fields, Josh Griffin, Katie Edwards, and Matt McGill once again gather round the table to talk about youth ministry. But not all questions are about Youth Ministry, haven’t you wondered about the drop leaf table? Once the conversation does turn to ministry topics include: deciding when to add paid staff, fighting with a parent, sponsoring a Christian Club on campus, and special need students.

JG

Today was a huge step in a more recent dream for our high school ministry – we are in the preparation and launch phase of a new care system. Simply put, we have some incredible volunteers that are willing to pray and be available to the students at a specific high school in the area. Like many youth ministries, we serve multiple schools – so there will be two campus pastors for each (of the phase one) local high school. There will be one guy and one girl – we figured the team approach works best and liked having both genders represented as well as those types of specific needs arise.

This is a non-program, just caring adults who want to engage with the students on campus. Here’s the thinking behind the challenge I asked them to take on this morning:

Be available for contact
We’re going to publish this list of volunteers and their contact information in a ton of places – the announcements during the countdown, at our student leader meetings, etc. We want them to get some attention! This is not a program, so it is all about students organically contacting their campus pastor when they have a need. When a new student comes to our ministry from one of these high schools, we’ll immediately get them the contact person of their campus pastor to help follow-up. A girl named Bethany visited this weekend – how awesome would it have been for me to give her the text number of a caring adult who will pray for her and grab coffee with her after her first couple of days of school?

Be ready to care/counsel
I posted a couple weeks ago about Caring for Students, and I think I’m ready to add this new layer to that drawing. These campus pastors will be available, trained and eager to jump in and listen to students needs and pastorally care for them. They aren’t meant to replace a small group leader or The Landing, but be a bridge to a next step.

Show up on campus
Be visible at sporting events and fine arts stuff. Walk the campus occasionally and pray for the students. Use your relationships with core students to meet their friends and expand the reach of care. When there is a need or crisis in their life or at the school, our prayer is that their first thought is to turn to you for help.

Speak occasionally in clubs
From time to time speak in the high school Bible club, FCA or Cookies for Christ. Identify and encourage teachers who are representing Jesus in the public schools. Take advantage of the club platform to help students grow into campus pastors themselves.

Each school will look different – none of them are programs, just opportunities for relationships with students right in the school. Excited about this idea! Just a thought that might trigger something for you – maybe pray about 3-4 volunteers to step up in your context and take on a similar role.

JG