I posted on Healthy Youth Ministry earlier here, and just had another experience where I was reminded of what Healthy Youth Ministry looks like. I just had a two hour conversation with a student leader whom I've known 3 years and here is my recap.
Conversation is better than dictation
Often it's easy to get into the game of "dictating" how time with a student will go by having an agenda. However if you have a conversation the time with the student goes where the questions & conversation go. Doesn't matter if its sports, leadership, college, grades, food, girls, money and some random inside jokes. Having a conversation with a students gives them the chance to be heard & be loved on. It gives them a voice to what is on their heart & mind with myself listening to THEM.
Be available for impromptu moments
While eating the mother & brother of ANOTHER student walked in the restaurant. I had never met them and the student I was with introduced me to them. It was a great moment to interact with a parent & brother of a new student. The student I was meeting with even noticed that I "didn't cut the conversation short with a quick Hi" but I was willing to give them time.
Respect & take advantage of curiosity
Twice in the two hours I was asked poignant questions that this student had been sitting on for a while. One was on money & one was on leadership. With each topic I made sure I knew what the student was asking by being sure I heard them clearly. I probed their thoughts before sharing mine. I asked them where all this thinking came from to understand the back story. I allowed them to ask private questions & I gave them more information when they asked for it.
Healthy youth ministry isn't rocket science, but it does take intentionality. If I never schedule to hang with this student...none of this would have never happened.
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