Youth Ministry Friday: Relationships

So, I've been trying to re-invent the blog a little bit. Over the years, it's increased it's scope from a blog by a youth pastor to youth pastors, to starting to include worship leading stuff, to just whatever might be in my head.

But I thought perhaps there should be a bit more of the youth ministry thing, since it's one of my favorite activities, and favorite things to write about! So each Friday, we'll do a post about youth ministry, and we'll try to do it in such a way that everyone has something to learn in the process.

Why Fridays? Because Friday is the home of one of my favorite youth ministry events of the week at Westminster. After school, we pile the kids into our bus (and a couple of wonderful volunteer's mini-vans) and take our high school students to Chick-Fil-A. Now, this is usually when folks in youth ministry ask about the programing of the event.

"Is it a bible study?"

"Is it a discipleship opportunity?"

"What book are you working through?"

"How many people have been saved there?"

"How many people come to your youth group because of it?"

The truth is, there is no programming behind Chick-Fil-A. There's no agenda. We don't make any speeches. The whole idea is to give the kids a place to relax a bit after a hard week of school, and to give them a chance to hang out with us. Relationships, as cliche as it might be, is still the name of the game in youth ministry.

Because while there's no bible study at Chick-Fil-A, we've had some of the most spiritually fulfilling conversations in that dining room.

While there's no specified discipleship being offered, I've had a blast watching some of our kids grow in leaps and bounds over the years at Chick-Fil-A.

While I don't have any intentions of presenting the Gospel to new people, I've heard countless times from students who say they feel like they can belong with our group.

My question to us is this: How much time and energy are we pouring into our programs and events, and how does it compare to the time and effort we're pouring into our student's lives? If we're leading one of the larger youth groups around, do we still know all our student's names? Do we know their stories? Do we know their hurts? Do we know how they need us? Do we know (most importantly) how they need Jesus?

May we spend more time with our kids, instead of more time for our kids.