Tuesday, February 09, 2010
No Free Lunch Campus Visits.
Earlier in my ministries - I use to love visiting students on their turf - during their lunch time, except it caused some issues.
Well some students thought I might embarrass them. Principals and educators were leary of a "Minister" being on their campus etc.
And then there were those "Super Mage Youth Pastor Ego types" who thought it was their right to be on campus and tell everyone about How great of a church they had compared to all the "little people." (Seriously - I ran into one of these guys who yelled at a Middle School principal and then the Principal closed their campus due to this one jerk.)
So what is the solution?
Here is my suggestion. Don't do lunch visits. Don't do it. Why? You ask. There is plenty of other time to build relationships on the school campus ... Let me suggest some:
1. Coach. Volunteer to coach or help with extra curricular activities.
2. Substitute teach. Sure the pay might not be great, but gives you an opportunity to meet the students.
3. Meet with the Principal. Have a lunch meeting with the teachers etc. Pray for them.
4. Go to the School Board meetings - know what is going on in your area and how you can help.
5. Go and offer help - especially when tragedy happens. I know I've visited some schools when a fellow classmate passes or a teacher etc. And offer to stay and listen. Usually the staff have the resources in place - but always a good thing to build relationships and offer help.
6. Go to the EXTRA Curricular activities. My last ministry - several of us spent most of the Fall on Fridays and Saturdays going to different games and Marching Band competitions. Why? Because we wanted to show the students we loved and valued them. That said so much more than me spending lunch with them.
7. Have lunch with their parents. There is nothing like having lunch with a parent and hearing their dreams for their children. I still remember some of the lunches and meals I've shared with parents from the last ministry I had. They all had given me some wise advice.
8. Offer some after school activities. We have currently one of our volunteers for our teen ministry that gets together a few guys (Even goes and picks them up) and opens up our multi-purpose room and they play street hockey. Think Game, movie nites - be creative to building that relationships.
9. Be praying. Pray specifically for the schools that those students go to. With so many different schools and activities ... I know I can't make ever campus anyways ...
10. Balance your time wisely. Time management. You could be focusing on so much on campus visits that you forget all the other stuff. Don't forget the goal isn't for you to be a buddy to your teens, but to be their mentor, friend, leader ... in doing that have some time management. I've know some youthworkers who spend alot of time on campus of schools but forget to prepare for their lessons, forget to feed their own souls. So ask yourself - is this effective use of my time? In some cases it is, in other times it is just a waste of time.