So many different areas of our lives are all about connections. The connections we have in our families, at our jobs, in our neighborhoods, they are all important and those connections usually end up helping us down the road. Ten years after high school even though we may not be close friends with some of our classmates we would still say we have connections in whatever field they are in. Many people get jobs based on the connections they have. Whether or not they are actually qualified for it, connections are usually the kicker. Especially in the age of social media, connections are easier and connections are everything.
Connections are powerful and show up in so many different areas of our lives and in so many different times in our lives. They also show up in youth ministry. We know relational ministry is the best ministry and people usually attend and stick based on the connections they make. So, if we understand how strong connections can be we as youth workers need to be asking ourselves some important questions.
What are we connecting our students to?
Are you connecting your students to you or to God?
As a youth worker, it is literally our job to connect to students but that can also be the biggest danger. In an attempt to connect to students, invest in their lives and love them, we can sometimes end up connecting them to us rather than connecting them to God. We need to be intentional and strategic about connecting students to God and pointing them towards Him rather than ourselves.
Along the same lines, another important question we need to ask ourselves is…
Are you connecting students to your word or to God’s Word?
Again, our job is literally to talk to students, give them advice, talk them through tough situations and say inspiring things to them. It can also be one of the biggest dangers. We want our students to listen to our words, but we need to make sure our words are words that align with the Word of God and we are pointing them towards His Word. I always tell my students “believe this because God said it, not because Todd said it.” Now, your name might not be as awesome and rhyme as easily, but students need to know that the only words they should be connected to are the words of God. The connections they have to the word of God are the ones they hopefully run to ten years down the line when you are no longer in their lives.
Connections are important and they can be so strong. But what is it that you are connecting your students to? As great as it feels to have students love you and follow you, the fact is you will not always be around for them to follow. It is our hope that students will come back to the connections they have and those connections will have an impact on their lives in the future.
That is why it is so important that we connect students to things that will last and never leave, and that is God and His Word.
I hope this reminder helps you refocus as much as it did me. This is something I constantly have to remind myself of and I hope that it was a great reminder for you as well.
TODD JONES has been in youth ministry for 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball, and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd at STOKEDONYOUTHMINSITRY.COM, THETODDJONES.COM, or on Twitter @THETODD_JONES, or Instagram @TODD_JONES.
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.