As a student ministry small group leader, sometimes your biggest job is to be an encourager. We all need a little encouragement from time to time but your teen years are a time when you need a little more validation in your life. It’s a time when little problems can seem huge and a time when students are still trying to figure out who they are.
I had a student in my group who ran for ASB Vice-President at his high school and unfortunately he lost the election. This was a huge loss to him. I wanted to remind him that it’s better to have tried and failed than it is to fail to try. I was proud that he put himself out there and tried! Also, losing an election for ASB does not mean he is any less the great guy that he is. Maybe God has a bigger plan for him and he needs to not be tied down to ASB Vice-President. I’ve found that most of the time when God won’t give us what we want it’s because He has a bigger better plan for us. We just don’t know it yet.
Here’s some tips to help encourage students:
- Be real. Be honest. Sometimes you need to tell someone something they might not want to hear.
- Let that student know they are loved. Not just now in their disappointment but all the time.
- I try to find some scripture that has to do with their situation. I don’t want to overwhelm them with scripture but I want to use this as a time to remind them to turn to their Bibles in good times and when life does not go their way.
- Everyone needs to feel wanted and needed. This is a good time to remind them that God wants them and loves them, no matter what, unconditionally.
- Realize there is power in presence. Sometimes just being there is encouraging.
- Follow up. Don’t just make this a one-time thing. Wait a few days and follow-up with a text or phone call.
How would you feel encouraged? What would you like someone to do for you when you need encouragement? Well, whatever that is to you, do it for someone else.