35 WAYS TO KNOW YOUR STUDENTS
Our goal for you, as a leader, is that you would help the students in your group follow Jesus with their head, hearts,
The first step in leading a student in this way is by connecting with them. Connecting with students leads to credibility. Credibility leads to conversation. Conversations with credibility lead to discipleship. The bottom line is that students don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
The hard part is that students are different. What I mean by that is this ‐ there are no two students who are exactly the same. Because of this we are required to connect with students in different ways.
With that in mind, we want to give you some ways to connect with students. Some of these ideas are designed for one‐on‐one interactions. Others are going to be more successful in groups. The key is to connect with students and show them how much you care.
- Call them. This generation spends more time on the phone than any previous generation, use it to your advantage.
- Text them. If you want to connect, but don’t want to talk – texting is for you. We ask you to text during appropriate hours (generally, 9am-9pm.) and to keep conversations about ministry events as much as possible. Remember to text only the things you want parents and youth pastors to read!
- Post comments on their Facebook or Instagram accounts.
- Show Facebook love. If they post something you like – click on the like button.
- Create identity. Give your group a special identity. Use special name, make t‐shirts, etc. Just be careful that this identity doesn’t cause others to feel excluded.
- Contact their parents. This is huge. Parents need to know who you are. We are working with them to lead their student toward following Jesus with their heads, hearts, and hands. Make this a priority!
- Create excitement. Help spread the word about events! Offer incentives for your group. Shave your head if... Eat a gold fish if... dress alike for large group events, etc.
- Challenge them with the take home resource. Students will be more apt to try the resources if someone is going to hold them accountable.
- Food. Bring food to your students or take them out for food. Students love to eat.
- Make your contact information available. Give them your phone number and email address.
- Lead by example. Do for them, what you want them to do for others.
- Connect outside of church. Meet at the movies or Starbucks. Let them know your relationship is not based on them showing up at church.
- Use technology. Examples include YouVersion Bible studies, Facebook, Instagram. I strongly discourage snapchat and vine.
- Talk about relevant things. What do your students want to talk about?
- Send them hand written birthday cards.
- Send praise letters for spiritual growth. If they are reading their Bible, inviting their friends to church, making wise choices, etc.. – let them know that you see it. What is rewarded is repeated.
- Serve together. i.e. mow someone’s lawn, feed the homeless, paint a house, pick up trash.
- Attend after school functions. Examples include cheer competitions, band or choir concerts, and sport events.
- Eat lunch with them if they can leave campus.
- Meet after school. Grab some ice cream or just chat.
- Call students by name. Students love to hear their own name.
- Strike up continual conversations with all students in our group. Don’t focus on just a few.
- Give occasional touches. High fives, side hugs, fist pounds
- Find cliques and connect with the leader. Influence the influencers.
- Encourage their talents. If you see something in them, let them know it.
- Love your students equally. Students want to be accepted. Show love to all your students.
- Send flowers or something special at times of tragedy.
- Carry gum or candy to give to students. Students love random things.
- Acknowledge positive physical change (haircut, outfit, working out).
- Apologize when you mess up. Transparency starts with you.
- Discretely give students money when needed. Meet a true need and a student won’t forget.
- Call them after school for no reason but to say “hi and I appreciate you”.
- Play together. Basketball, football, shopping, dance, etc... Have fun with your students.
- Pray together.