So I have been thinking about this concept of care systems within student ministry. Last week Mike Lovato and I talked about this issue in the context of middle school ministry. The thoughts that I am mulling over is: what is a care system and what does it look like to a middle school student? Mike posed a great question “what would happen if God sent 60 kids to the Refinery tonight?” That question has been keeping me from sleeping for the last week. What does care look like with 60 students? Maybe a better question that I should be asking is “what does a caring adult look like?” Here are some basic thoughts (and I do mean basic):
1) Students needs consistent leaders
Within today’s times, students live in world where everything is changing faster than you can change a song on an ipod. Often this rears its ugly face in ministry when leaders are unwilling to commit to love and care for students. Students see when we are there for them, and when we are there for our resume. In a world where the family dynamic of students is divorce, simply being present creates an environment that should love. This creates care.
2) Students need different leaders
I have an intern his name is Chris
, and Chris is a rock star. He is an talented guitar player and seems to know what’s going down in the music industry. He connects with students who often share the same hobbies and passions as he does. Having different types of leaders with different types of personalities helps create an environment that fosters care by having that “one leader” that some students connect well with. I thank God that we have Chris or a Phil, and a Danielle to help foster care to our students. All of our leaders have different personalities, that means they connect with students that I normally don’t connect to and visa versa. To have a successful ministry (I think) we need to surround our students with caring adults that love students, but are willing to allow God to use others as well. It’s okay if don’t connect with everyone, just as long as you have someone on your team that can.
3) Care is more than just Sunday and Wednesday thing
Students like phones calls, postcards, and smiles when you see them at church. They love when yo remember prayer requests and their birthdays. They will remember those times when you took them to Starbucks or Castle Park for their birthdays. Students need leaders to care for them outside of the program schedule. I believe most of the impact that students receives is from the simplest forms of care; a smile, a hug, a high-five, showing up at their ballgames.
I ask you this: what does care look like for you, and how do keep that care system going? Let me know what your thoughts are…God be with you