I am about to finish my 16th year of student ministries. Things like music has changed many times from Michael W. Smith and Jeremy Camp to Lecrae and Hillsong. From event driven youth groups to discipleship being a draw. I have loved all the changes, even though I do miss some of the old school stuff!
One thing that hasn’t changed is the relationship between the students and the adult leaders/youth pastors being the most important part of youth groups. I have worked with thousands of students as well as hundreds of adult leaders. This post is for the students. Here is what I want you to know about your adult leaders, of course, not all, but, I bet a majority of them.
First, they are just as scared as you.
Yep, the day they met you, they wanted you to like them, trust them, and be ready to confide in them. This all takes time for sure, but your adult leader really wants to get to know you and sometimes there is an awkwardness there that is so obvious. Students don’t always show openness on day one in a new group (and I don’t blame you), I just want you to understand that your leader is just as nervous as you and may sometimes ask weird questions or may ramble or may not even know what to say all of the time. Sometimes it may help if you, as a student, ask questions of the adult leader, first just basic questions like family, job, etc. This will help loosen up your adult leader, knowing that you, as a student, are interested in them as well.
Second, adults do not have all the answers.
I know – DUH!!! As much as I wish I could help out every student with every problem, I cannot. I am sure your adult leader feels the same way. We will give advice to the best of our ability, we will help find Scripture that may answer some of your questions, and we will pray with you. Sometimes, the answers take time, and your adult leader is willing to sit, pray, and listen as you seek answers to questions or issues in your life.
Third, your adult leader gives their time to you.
This isn’t meant to make you feel guilty, it’s meant to let you know that they want to serve you, not just at your church during youth group, but many times they have to attend meetings or training sessions at church. They may spend a whole week with you at youth camp, using vacation time at work so they can go. They spend time away from their own families to hang out with you and your group, sure some leaders may have kids in the youth group, but you are being shared by them. They also invest their time by studying before a message or small group time, plus time they spend in prayer for you. They make these types of commitments because of their passion for students – YOU!
Finally, sometimes they hurt.
Yes, even your strong, adult leader hurts. Things can go wrong at work, or something tragic can happen within their family, or they are spiritually down. Sometimes your adult leader may need prayer for themselves (most will not ask for it), but if you see them not being their normal selves, reach out to them and pray for them! This can take your relationship to another level.
Your adult leaders are there for you. They have made an investment of time away from family, an investment spiritually and emotionally, and they just want to serve you as the student body. They love you and just want to get to know you and see where they can help lead you into a more solid relationship with Jesus. Be open with them and listen to them, they want to share with you! They love you!!
Steve is the Sports Chaplain at Romulus High School, Eastern Michigan University, and Grand River Prep. He spends a large portion of his time leading Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
© 2016, Never The Same