Practical ideas for building relationships with your youth group

Building relationships with teenagersThe comments of my earlier post, “Why do kids come to youth group?” generated a lot of good practical ideas for building relationships with the kids in your youth group. Thanks for your contributions, guys! Here are some of the ideas:

Franklin Wood‘s suggestions:

What I’ve done this year is to write “PRAY” at the beginning of every day in my Day Planner. I know this sounds terrible, but it’s a reminder to me of what’s important. At about 3:30 PM, I’ve written “CALL KIDS” and I schedule nothing past this point.

I also printed up one page per student with one column “Date” and the other “topics discussed.” This is so that I can check records to keep myself somewhat accountable. I want to make sure I’m trying to call all the kids and not playing favorites. I also want to keep track of what’s going on in their lives so that next time I call, I can ask about our previous discussion.

Joy gave her input, as well:

A while back my Sr. Pastor asked me to start taking my teens out for lunch or something on a one-on-one or small group basis. At first i thought it would be weird and would turn me into some kind of santa claus always buying stuff, but it’s turned out to be a really good thing….

Another thing i do is divide the teens into small groups during prayer time. the teens are in the same group week after week so its the same people in their group, and they have the same adult leader each week too.

And of course the teens have my e-mail, instant messenger names, myspace, home phone, etc, and they know they can get in touch with me. And i try to send e-mails or postcards to the ones i feel like i’m not in touch with as much. After a while they get the idea that i really am acessible to them, so they’ll call or email me about random stuff.

Plus anything you do with the teens is building a relationship with them, and anything the teens work on together builds relationships between them. so our fun activities and minsitry teams are huge in this too. And whenever they invite me to something i try to go.

Mike’s ideas:

I try to go to the school every Wed. morning…. One good thing about living in a small town, like I do, is that it is super easy to get involved with school stuff. They are very open to me helping out and hanging around…. Being in the schools has been a great way to meet other students in the community and see the students in my group outside of “church stuff.”

I’ve also just hung out in the parking lot before school. For no other reason than to just be there if a student wants/needs to talk. One of the teachers asked me a few weeks ago about coming in before school while the students are waiting in the lunch room and being available to talk if needed. I wouldn’t do anything but just be there.

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Find out what video games your kids play online and join them in it. They love beating up their youth pastor!
  • If you played the same sport as one of your students, get together and show each other your skills.
  • Go to the kids’ concerts, games, recitals, and other performances. This is a great time to meet the parents, too.
  • Show up at their work-place. If they bag groceries, do your food shopping while they’re working at the grocery store. If they wait tables at a restaurant, eat out during their shift.
  • Invite them over to your house to watch a movie or play a game. Kids always love hanging out at their youth pastor’s house.
  • When you can’t find any areas of mutual interest to bond over, find out what they enjoy and ask them to teach you about it.

Posted on April 17, 2007

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