Different Methods for Different Students

You want to reach students and make a difference in their lives, but before that can happen you have to connect with them.

That's easier said than done, though, because student culture is anything but monolithic. What's "in" today may be "out" tomorrow; and what's "out" today may be "in" tomorrow. And then there are some pockets of people who cut against the grain of what pop culture says is "in" by deliberately embracing what pop culture says is "out." Then, by the standards of their own subculture, they're "in" because they're "out."

Because teenagers are so different from one another, we must create multiple environments where they will find acceptance in their uniqueness! A one-size-fits-all, cram them in the cookie-cutter, approach won't work.

That said, I want to note 2 key distinctions that are relevant for youth ministry.

Distinction 1: Thoughts on Faith/God/Church/Jesus
Some students have never heard the story the Bible is telling. Other students have heard it and rejected it. And still other students have heard it and appropriated it in their lives.

Distinction 2: Interests
Beyond that level of distinction, lies another level of distinction. There are some students who are involved in sports. Other students don't like sports, but are in the band. Still other students don't like the band, but are into gaming or something else.

Of course, the challenge is no different for the pastors who lead the adult congregation. The distinctions remain for adults, with regard to faith (from apathetic to passionate) and interests (from mostly introverted activities to mostly extroverted activities).

Here's the point:
Different Students call for Different Methods.

Some kids will love the sharing/caring environment of a small group, while other kids will not.
Some kids will love the crowded/anonymous environment of a large group, while other kids will not.

The solution is not in creating a one-size-fits-all environment that appeals to everyone...it CAN'T happen!

Instead, think about the guys, the girls, the younger students, the older students, the Christians, the non-Christians, the athletes, the band members, the ones whose parents forced them to come, and the ones who begged their parents to drop them off. With each those people clearly in your mind, dream of ways they can be reached and encouraged to take the next step on their journey with Christ.

But no matter the strategy or the program, the one constant in every student's life should be an adult who cares (see the video below).

Related Posts:
What Are You Highlighting?
5 Questions Students Ask About You


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