Building Relationships Through Breakfast

Youth Pastors work with students.
Students have to go to school.
When school lets out, students have homework, jobs, and extra-curricular activities.

Therefore, if you're going to get time with your students beyond the Sunday/Wednesday programs, you'd better buy an alarm clock and pick them up for breakfast!

But beyond that practical reason lies a more powerful reason: picking a student up, taking him to breakfast, and dropping him off at school communicates to that student that you care about him.

Your actions say, "You're more than a cog in the wheel of our programs. Your presence in our church is more significant than the number of friends you bring to this or that event. You matter to God and you matter to me."

This breakfast should not have an ulterior motive. It's not about having a Bible study before school, it's about demonstrating that you're there and you care.

Many youth pastors are quick to jump at opportunities for "face time" on school campuses. That's reasonable and should be included as part of an overall ministry strategy. Many worthwhile bridges between the community and the church have been built that way (of course, many have been burned that way also). But, unfortunately, I know far fewer youth pastors who are willing to do what I'm suggesting here.

Why is that?
I think it's because meeting with a single student over breakfast seems to have a low "return on investment."

Return on Investment is an economic term which is calculated by dividing the amount gained by the amount spent. While I don't think most youth pastors would use that exact term, I do think that's precisely the equation being computed in their minds.

There are sermons to write, meetings to attend, volunteers to recruit, budgets to maintain, programs to plan, and so many other things that are already on the youth pastor's calendar. If any of those things are neglected people will notice right away. But if you're not building relationships through breakfast then no one will really notice...except for the students themselves.

That's why I said that it "seems" to have a low return on investment. Because its effects aren't seen immediately, breakfast with students can slide lower and lower on the list of priorities. The actual return on investment is through the roof. Loud music and cool buildings might attract students, but the personal touch is what keeps students. So it's in your best interest to discover the power of breakfast with your students.

I insist that if you are male, you should only take males to breakfast. If you are female, you should only take females to breakfast. If you must take a person of the opposite sex to breakfast, then bring along your spouse - if you're not married then you're going to need to get one of your volunteers to lend a hand. I wish this weren't so, but in this era of youth pastors and other ministers showing up on shows like "To Catch a Predator," you can never be too careful when it comes to putting yourself in positions that can have the appearance of wrongdoing. So, please avoid those situations at all costs!

Shameless plug:
If you're worried about how you're going to find the time to take a student to breakfast and still get your message completed for Sunday or Wednesday, purchase the refreshEVERTYTHING series and get yourself to breakfast!

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