“@broadandy: @Coachshef it takes a year to build solid relationships with a student. Think with the end in mind.”
This is a tweet I saw last week, and I could not agree more with what he said. The first year with a group of students is all about building relationships.
In junior high ministry, I only get 2 years with a group of students. They’re only a part of my ministry for 2 years, and those years fly by as it is. What I’ve learned is that if you can spend the entire first year building great relationships with students, it will set you up for HUGE success in the next year. Since I want my ministry to be as fruitful as possible, of course I’m going to invest in my students relationally during the first year.
Here’s how I’m doing it with my small group:
- Making prayer requests a priority. Rather than getting through a small group lesson and squeezing prayer requests into the last 5 minutes, I’m doing prayer requests first. It’s more important for me to hear about your life than the discussion we might have tonight.
- Taking students out to dinner. My co-leader and I take a guy out to dinner every week before our small group. This is to get to know them and for them to get to know us. It also gives them a chance to talk about anything they don’t feel comfortable discussing in a group.
- Creating a communication culture. We call our small groups “Life Groups,” because we do life together. A huge part of that is communicating outside of group, primarily through texting. I’m trying to train my guys to make communication a priority.
Those are 3 simple things, but we have to be willing to sacrifice that “great lesson about the doctrine of sanctification” for relationship building, at least during the first year.