5 Questions Students Ask About You

When you enter into the lives of students, either as a youth pastor or youth leader, you will be observed by the students to find out a few things. Specifically, they will ask 5 questions about you:

1) Who Are You?
You've decided to show up and join this group of students, so they want to know your story - where are your from, what do you want, where are you going?

2) Why Are You Here?
Most churches have a youth ministry, or at least some kind of program for students. If a particular student has been involved since the 7th grade and you show up when he's in the 10th grade, he will ask this question, thinking, "We've been here all along. Why the sudden interest on your part?"

3) Do I Like You?
Let's be honest: you will not be liked by everyone. Nevertheless, students who meet you are asking (whether consciously or subconsciously) if you are someone they enjoy being around. They intuitively sense whether you giving you a "voice" in their lives will be positive or negative for them in the long run. If they think your presence in their lives will result in negativity (subjectively defined in various ways by various students at various times), they will not respond favorably to your presence or what you say.

4) Do You Care About Me?
This is important. They want to know if they are just a cog in your agenda of advancement, or if you actually, genuinely care about who they are and who they are becoming. Moreover, they wonder if you'll even be around to see who they become or will you jump ship when things get tough or a bigger church gives you an opportunity. Most students have been involved in a church or a group that has changed leadership. In many churches there is an unfortunate carousel of leaders that promise to be involved, but leave those promises unfulfilled. This requires extra effort on your part to demonstrate trustworthiness to the students.

5) Do You Really Believe What You're Telling Me To Believe?
Even if questions 1-4 are answered in your favor, this question can make or break your impact in youth ministry. Stories of pastors involved with infidelity, unforgiveness, vanity, slander, and other variations of public sin have tainted the very people they sought to influence along the way. In our culture, with spin-doctors and salesman all around, students are highly skilled at sorting out those who are faking it from those who are living it.

It's a helpful exercise to picture your students asking these questions of you, no matter who you are or how long you've been where you are.


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