Confucius is one of China’s most revered sages. Although he lived and taught his disciples somewhere around 551-479 B.C., Confucianism is still the most popular philosophy in China today. The context of Confucius’ rise in popularity is interesting. Times were chaotic and quite violent in China at the time of his professional life. There were great divides between classes and clans and this was disturbing to Confucius because it weakened society and created distrust and poverty. He grew up with minimal personal family connection so this seemed to create a vacuum in his own heart for connectedness and the benefits of a tight-knit family. Understanding his background helps us understand where the deep roots of his philosophy came from.
Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. – Winston Churchill
Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged. – Abraham Lincoln
GREAT TEAMS KNOW HOW TO ASSIMILATE NEW TEAM MEMBERS
After reading, would you be willing to share this and offer a comment below? I respond to each comment.
Each semester it is common for a student ministry team to add a new leader or two. It is rare for teams to remain static for too long and it is actually a sign of health in your recruitment and training strategy if you are regularly adding new leaders on your youth ministry or college ministry team. God is constantly at work raising up new laborers for his harvest field so it is really important to have a plan for assimilating new leaders on your team:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ – Matthew 9:36-38).
All of us have been “new” to a team at some point so it should be easy for us to relate. But in reality it takes discipline to keep reminding yourself how others might be feeling like an outsider. It is helpful to step back and put yourself in a new team members shoes. This greatly improves your ability to help them assimilate to your team.
Student ministry is one of those vocations that sometimes perplexes people. I often get asked, “So what do you do?” I love it when people ask me that because it gives me a free 30 seconds or so to promote and advocate for what I believe is one of the most important ministry priorities for any church or para church. I want to see every young person in every city of the world have an opportunity to meet Jesus, grow in their faith, and to grow as a leader to impact more young people in their arena of influence.
I came to Christ as a high school kid through Young Life and then served for 15 years on staff with YL in Arizona, Colorado, and New Zealand.
My good friend, Tom Harcus who started the Crossway Chapel church planting network offers some great insight on building relationships. Whenever you want to break ground and build new relationships, these principles will work. They are especially insightful and valuable to me because if you carry out these principles you will not only plant churches, but they will likely be new churches with a fun and inviting student ministry DNA from the get go.
T-Shirts & Hats are Great Conversation Starters
Conversation starters are one of the most important skills to learn in student ministry. Coming up with a good conversation starter to meet a new person can be one of the hardest parts of student ministry. One of my favorite ways of how to start a conversation with a new person is simple: Look at people’s hats and t-shirts. They give you free information about something they might care about. Whether their hat or t-shirt has the name of a college, team, or brand, it is an easy way to strike up a conversation.
For example: if their hat or t-shirt has the name of a team on it, ask them, “How do you think (the team on their shirt) is going to do this year?” Or if their shirt has a brand on it like, Patagonia, you can ask them, “Hey, how do you like Patagonia gear? Does it hold up? I’ve been thinking of getting a Patagonia jacket for a while, what do you think?”
This is one the easiest ways to start a conversation. And who knows, that little conversation could be the first stitch in the fabric of a relationship that God may have opened up to lead that person to Jesus. So give it a try!
- You Can Succeed in Talking with Students Anywhere, Anytime
- 165 Conversation Starter Questions for Outdoor Ministry
Love without conversation is impossible. –Mortimer Adler
After reading this, would you be willing to share this and offer a comment below? I respond to each comment.
I remember meeting the philosopher, Mortimer Adler when I was a middle school kid in Aspen, CO. And the one thing I remember about him, besides he is really smart, is that he talked to me, even though I was probably the youngest person in the room. In all my years of student ministry, I believe if you can learn just 3 skills you will impact more students than you can possibly dream of. If you want to have a dynamic student ministry then simply help your leadership team excel in these areas and then the rest is gravy. I’ve attached at the end of this post a 1 page resource you can download that will help you keep meeting new students and following up with them well.
1 – BEING THERE
You may be able to recruit people to serve in your student ministry. You may even be able to get them to commit to training. But to get them to commit to going to a middle school, high school, or college campus 1-2 times a week to meet students and build relationships is what separates the prairie dogs from the pandas.
As a youthworker or parent, to give hope and solace to teenagers, we need to tell them how to find peace. The world has questions. The Bible has answers. Students, ages 13-25 in particular are beginning to shift from a totally concrete view of the world to a more abstract perspective.
This means that adolescence is a time where we begin to process our environment and relationships by asking lots of questions. Most of these questions go unspoken, but they are there if you dig for them.
Every student ministry organization wrestles with the quandry of what to do with mountain top experiences. Young people are impacted by a retreat or leadership camp and the idealistic side of them is tapped. At the summit of their emotions and desires they want to change the world. This is normal and good. All of us need mountain top experiences from time to time to gain new perspective or to be reminded of things God has already spoken to us that we have forgotten. Here’s how…
The VISION Inductive Bible Study Method is one of the simplest Bible study tools I know of that helps you take a passage of Scripture & write compelling questions for your small group.
They key to a great Bible study and discussion with young people is helping them discover the truth in the passage. There is an art to writing good questions that will invite participation. These Bible study tools take time and effort. When you start out it can be overwhelming to try to write well-crafted questions that will help your group understand the meaning of the passage and how to apply it to their lives. That’s why I put together the VISION Inductive Bible Study method. It’s one of the simplest Bible study tools you can find. It helps you take any passage of Scripture and write compelling questions that will help your group learn its meaning and the implications of what it teaches to their lives. Here’s how…