by Jesse Criss
Youth Ministry is about the relationships we develop with our students. For many of us, we are involved in the lives of our kids, not just for a few months but often for years. I have a firm belief that if we are going to build relationships with students we need to get to know them.
For me it comes really naturally, I can basically sit down with almost any kid and get into a conversation. Sometimes its big and ministry related but often its about everyday stuff. However I have discovered over the years that not every leader knows how to actually do that.
I was challenged by a friend and mentor (Randy Carter) to sit down and think through what I do naturally in order to figure out how I can equip others. The end result was a realization that I tend to use a three basic questions…
- How is your Life?
- How is your Love?
- How is your Faith?
Now these questions come with an important ground rule…
“You are free to answer/interpret these questions however you want, with no agenda on my part”.
The first time you sit down with a students and go over these questions (Especially the love question) you will get funny looks and they tread carefully at first. However as you get talking the “pump will prime” and more details will follow.
See the reality is that this generation has lost the art of face to face conversation, and we as leaders are not far behind. The three questions provide an open ended framework for conversation. If we actively listen to what they say to us, we will see openings for deeper conversation. The opening that come after a kid says “God feels far away”, “my home situation is falling apart” or “I think I’m in love”. See it’s actually all about the follow-up question. When you follow-up OVER TIME you will discover a depth you never knew you could have with any age of students.
PRO TIP: When it comes to middle school kids you can replace or add the following question, “If you could be an evil genius how would you take over the world?” Trust me it’s EPIC 😛