7 Ways to Get Your Small Groups Ministering on Their School Campuses
One of this year’s focuses for the NATIONAL YOUTH WORKERS CONVENTION will be how youth workers can partner with schools to impact the lives of teens. This post from Chase Snyder is about how his students have been able to create an impact outside the walls of the church. Don’t miss more of the conversation at NYWC and register early to save big! NYWC.COM
Summer is coming to an end, and it is time to think about your fall ministry calendar.
As you stare at your quickly filling calendar one thing is clear – you cannot make it to every event. There are simply too many games, practices, speaking engagements, and special events for you to attend. This sounds like a problem, but it is actually an opportunity for your small group leaders to mobilize their groups to minister on campus.
When your leaders and students view their school campus as a mission field, lives will be transformed.
7 Ways To Get Your Small Groups To Minister On School Campuses
Communicate the expectation early, positively, and frequently
Foreign missionaries do not wake up and suddenly find themselves overseas with a great plan for making the Gospel known in a new place. They spend years praying and preparing for the mission field, they allow God to give them His vision for a people group, and when the time comes to minister, they do so. If you expect your leaders to suddenly catch your passion for outreach on local school campuses without ever having mentioned it, you’re in for a tough time getting them to join you. You have to do the work to ensure that your team is unified with the right core values and goal of sharing the Gospel with as many students as possible.
Meet with school administration in advance
Call the school and see what ways your leaders can be involved. Are your leaders allowed to hang out at school lunches? What service projects do the school need done? Have you shared with the principal your vision for getting positive role models on the school campus? Meeting with the administration before students return to class creates a positive environment for your leaders to get plugged in.
Compile a school calendar for small group leaders
Your small group leaders need to know when students are in school or on break, when they are taking midterms and finals, and when the football games are. Do not make them find this information on their own, supply it to them in an easy-to-use format. I like having this information in Google Calendar but many leaders prefer a printed calendar. You know your people – do what works for them!
Offset the cost of on-campus games and events
Will the school let your leaders on a pass list for games and special events? If not, can your student ministry budget help cover the cost so that your leaders are able to attend more events? Just like it’s hard for you to spend your own money going to event after event for your students, it’s hard for your leaders too. If you’re able to find a creative solution, it will go a long way with your leaders.
Remind leaders to interact with parents
Instead of sitting by their selves during a basketball game, small group leaders need to be sitting with their students’ parents. Sitting with the parents will promote conversation, encouragement, and trust. This may not be something your leaders feel equipped to do. It may seem awkward. Following Jesus in obedience is not easy, especially when it involves putting ourselves out there with new people. But interacting with parents is a surefire way to become a positive role model in the eyes of students’ parents, which is key if your leaders want to have significant impact in students’ lives.
Allow for ministry to be organic and student-led
If you try to control the details, your small groups will not take ownership. Why would they when you run everything? They spend time with their students weekly in a close environment. They spend time in prayer each week for their specific students. Allow them the freedom to do what is going to work based on their knowledge of their students.
Cast vision with the students
Your students do not attend the student ministry just to sit and learn. If they are Christians, they get to join in on God’s mission in their schools! And more than that, they are more in tune with their peers than you are. Encourage them to engage their student body as a missionary would engage their community. Students should be taught how to share their faith and given ample encouragement to pray for and engage specific people for the sake of the Gospel.
What caught your attention as you read this list? I bet it’s something you can easily make a plan to start doing. And I challenge you to do it! Students in your community need Jesus, and you can’t reach them all yourself. But with the help of your small group leader and students, you can!
Chase Snyder is the founder of MINISTRYBUBBLE.COM and serves as a Family Pastor in Knoxville, Tenn. He seeks to live a life that glorifies God and disciples others through their day-to-day lives, and his passion is equipping those in the church to seek those who are outside of it. Check out his writing at MINISTRY BUBBLE or connect with him on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or INSTAGRAM.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.