Four Ways to Impress the New Kid
Every student ministry has to deal with the New Kid. The New Kid is the student who shows up for the first time and knows no one. This student acts as if he or she doesn’t want to be there and sits with arms folded, taunting you to dazzle him or her. This may be the vibe the kid sends out, but it’s hardly what’s happening on the inside. What this kid is really thinking is Please like me—I want to connect, and I want to have fun.
How you handle this kid is crucial to the vitality of your ministry. Here are four ways to impress the New Kid:
1) Make It a Big Deal
The fact that these kids come at all says that they’re at least willing to give it a try. Make it a big deal that they’re there. Welcome them, talk to them, and get to know them. Introduce them to other people their age, kids from the same school, their small group leaders, etc. New kids needs to feel as if they’re already with people who care about them. Build segments into your programming to celebrate new students.
2) Remember the New Kid’s Name
Everyone has a name, and it’s possibly the most important thing they’ll ever own. Remembering the New Kid’s name says that he or she is important to you. Commit to being a name knower. Don’t hide behind the line “I’m terrible with names.” Being terrible with names usually means more about the importance you place on names and less about your ability to remember them.
3) Have Fun
Student ministry should be fun. These are teenagers you’re dealing with—not senior citizens. They crave fun that they don’t have to come up with on their own. I’m not saying to skip out on telling them about Jesus—not telling the New Kid about the gospel would cheapen the experience. But you’re creating an environment that will draw these students in and tear down any walls that might keep them from being open to hearing about Jesus. Fun is the catalyst that can turn the New Kid from a first-time visitor into a faithful, committed student in your ministry.
4) Send the New Kid Something
There’s nothing that speaks to the New Kid in a more powerful way than getting something in the mail from your student ministry the week after he or she visits for the first time. Not only does it impress and convey to new kids that they’re special, it also will speak to their parents. In this digital world we live in, the effort of sending snail mail speaks volumes.
New kids need you to think they’re special. As someone who works with middle school and high school students, it’s your job to value them. Making an effort to impress them only gives you more opportunities to share about Jesus. After all, that’s why we do what we do!
Kent Bjurstrom is the pastor of student ministries at Northview Church in Carmel, IN. His desire is to see middle school and high school students enter into a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ and help them put their faith in motion. Connect with Kent Twitter & Instragram at @pastorkentb.
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.