Is Your Church as Friendly as You Think? -Group Magazine

17 Mar

Some great stuff from Group make sure to check out weeks 1-4 HERE Subscribe to their weekly newsletter to be sent right to your inbox, best thing….its FREE!!! I have not met a youth leader yet that doesn’t like free stuff! Read this article, discuss it with your team, and take a hard look at your ministry. We may only get one shot at a guest.

Friendliness: The Last 10 Minutes

What happens in your ministry when youth group time is over? Does everyone clear out? Do some kids linger while others sort of slink away? Are some making plans to get together immediately after, while others glance around awkwardly to see if they’ll be invited? The last 10 minutes of your gatherings might be more important than the first 10 minutes! Above all, kids have a big, hairy question running through their heads: Does anyone really see anything in me? That’s why it’s so important to consider what happens in the unstructured social time that follows your formal meeting time.

The Power of Shared Meals
No surprise here-Gallup researchers found that when young people experience a youth group as habitually hospitable, they see that group as friendlier than others. Here’s the good news-most youth pastors are experts at hospitality. We’re innovators in figuring out how to serve food with almost everything we do-we’ve raised it to an art form. In youth culture, as in adult culture, food communicates that the group is a “safe zone.” Snack time and meal time are prime times for student leadership people to sit down next to someone they don’t normally connect with. It’s no wonder Jesus accomplished so much in his disciples’ lives over shared meals. So make shared meals a standard epilogue to every youth group meeting.

The Power of Seeing Kids Well
More young people come back to a youth group because someone talked to them than because they liked the youth pastor or the worship band. When young people feel seen well, it’s powerful. In fact, nothing’s more powerful in a teenager’s life than someone who legitimately enjoys him or her. To enjoy your teenagers, you and your student leaders will have to study them like Sherlock Holmes trying to unravel a mystery. That means noticing the unnoticed details of their lives, then following those clues down to their core-the “real me.” Longtime youth pastor Len Kageler says the primary way he studies his kids is by playing his heart out with them. After the game is over and they’re enjoying a snack together, he likes to speak to two or three kids individually to tell them something good he noticed about them that night (a good question, a great catch, a sincere prayer, and so on). He also asks them to give him something specific he can pray about for them, and he’s quick to give them something they can pray about for him.
The next week he checks in with them about their prayer request. Sometimes kids run up to him as he’s pulling into the church parking lot to tell him what happened with their prayer request.
The Comfort Zone
A challenge for many teenagers is simply in stepping out of their comfort zones. A lot of young people are shy and don’t remember how to start a conversation with a stranger, or even someone who sits in front of them week after week. It can be as simple as a compliment on what they’re wearing, asking about their day, even commenting on the weather! Anything to break the ice and start the words coming out of their mouth!
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