Reaching Students Before School
I wanna start doing my chores so that my mom doesn’t have to remind me and get mad.
A candid response to the small group question I had offered! He continued, “…but then my mom makes us all be in the living room for ‘family time’ and then she just stares at her laptop the whole time. Whatever.”
This young man felt free to share some deep stuff, and I only met him the week before!
I find that breakfasts before school are a great way to connect with students. Every time I initiate one I hear people project, “No students will go to that.” “Teenagers don’t get up that early, and they won’t be ‘awake’ anyway.” Maybe true for some, but in my experience, students come, and those who want to be there will find a way. Through relationships and a commitment to keep breakfast at the school going, this continues to be a successful ministry.
Our breakfast was going according to plan: arrive at the school, have a quick staff meeting with prayer, prepare food and the room, let students in, game, talk, and small groups.
Did it work? Yes again.
Since it was the beginning of the school year, our topic for the morning was simple and inviting for all to talk about. We asked, “What habits do you want to start, stop, continue, or tweak for this school year?” The hope was that students would start sharing about their own personal story, their successes and things that they need to improve on.
Of course, I got the expected answers of, “I want to start doing my homework” ha ha good joke. “I want to stop going to football practice” ha ha again, these kids are regular comedians. “I want to continue coming to Campus Life breakfast so that I get free breakfast” hooray! And then, “My mom doesn’t pay any attention to me.” Then the whole tone changed.
I believe that Jesus was the master at noticing and listening to people’s stories. We could look at His conversation with the woman at the well in John 4. Or the woman Jesus stopped to talk to after she fought the crowd just to touch His cloak and be healed. Or, Jesus having the grace to ask the lame man “Do you want to get well?” It is care and compassion for their stories and afterwards, the people were forever changed.
What are the stories of the students that you come in contact with? Driven to success so that they get love and attention from their parents? Ignored because their parents are too busy? Raised in a Christian home where they are supported, but need an adult who cares in their life?
What opportunities are you creating for students to share their story?
is the Area Campus Director with Youth for Christ/Campus Life in the Sacramento area. In Paul's years working with both church and parachurch, he always has made visiting the local campus a priority. Paul is on campus weekly, and he thinks you should be too! Feel free to use the comment feature in these articles to dialogue with Paul, or use our CONTACT US page to contact him with a specific question.