Yes, fall is my favorite time of the year. College football, cooling temperatures and the changing colors are all things that make me feel like a small boy on Christmas morning. I love fall.
I feel the same way about student ministry. It's one of the busiest times of the year but it's one of my favorites. From reconnecting with adult leaders to thinking about students reconnecting with friends at school. The fall season is the March Madness or Tour de France of student ministry. (Ok, for all you soccer peeps the World Cup)
As I'm thinking about all we've done to prepare and all we will continue to do, here are some broad stroke meanderings about student ministry in fall.
Adult Leaders Get the Spotlight
Our ministry lives and dies based on adult leaders living lives with kids. Sure we try to have good talks and fun events, but we believe that most life change happens when someone who loves Jesus takes the time to pray for and spend time with students.
It seems it's the way Jesus did ministry. He walked up to people and said, "follow me". In other words, live life with me. Go where I go and do what I do. Granted, we don't require our leaders to allow 7th grade boys to live in their home, but you get the point.
In mid August we took a Saturday afternoon / evening to pull our adults together for an interactive time of training, inspiration and fun. Amongst other topics we talked about how prayer in the foundation of an effective small group and relationship for relationship's sake is what student ministry is all about. We told them that many times adult mentors provide watershed moments in the lives of kids. Then we did what any good Texan would do, ate some barbecue together. It was a great day.
We will continue to shepherd and train our leaders throughout the school year, but that Saturday afternoon was a great start. We're blessed with some super duper adults.
Live Your Life, Love Your Friends, Tell Your Story
Years ago some of my friends in Georgia came up with this simple strategy to help students think through living missionally on their campuses.
We've been unpacking a key thought from Matthew's description of Jesus when he saw hurting people.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
We've been asking our students questions like....
- when you walk into your lunchroom what do you see?
- when you see students who are different than you, are you filled with judgment or compassion?
- what are practical ways you can show love to your friends on your campus?
- what's your story and how can you share it naturally?
Students are no different than adults, left to themselves they only see their own hurts and needs, but the gospel gives them the ability to look beyond themselves to the needs of others. More than anyone else, students have the greatest potential to live out the gospel to students.
So I'm curious, what is your favorite season, personally and from a ministry perspective. Fall has to be close to the top of the list....right?