Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Youth Leaders: Relationships + Trust Leads To Discipleship

In my opinion the greatest way to disciple a student is through a relationship build on trust.  Students are like Shrek, they are onions with lots of layers and we can't truly disciple them until we get passed the layers.  If we spend all our time focusing on the content and it's depth without building relationships a lot of times our words and what we teach or share will fall on deaf ears.  Their ears and hearts will open up when they trust us.  With that it's important to remember that trust is not given it is earned.  Here are some keys to earn our students trust:

1.  Love them unconditionally - When a student sees we love them and all of their mess it will definitely tear down some layers.  It will also open them up to allow us to help them with their mess.  This is huge!

2.  Longevity - The longer we are present in their lives the more layers will come down.  Our students are sizing us up, are we their for the long term or short term.  Longevity goes a long way to building trust with our students.  Also some students have more layers then others so it's going to take longer to build that trust, they only way to get their is through longevity.

3.  Consistency.  Not only do we need to be apart of their lives for the long haul but we need to be consistent, trying to build a relationship with a student only once or twice a month is very difficult.

4. Transparency - Share our stories and life experience with them, especially our failures.  When students see we trust them with our story they will start to open up and trust us with their story.  If we try to be all holy and act like we have no issues they will see right through that and the layers will stay up.

5.  Go the extra mile - whether it's visiting them at a school lunch, going to their event, buying them lunch or their favorite drink, a random text or phone call, this kind of stuff helps build trust.  It shows the students we care for them and their interests.  When I was a student I was always meant a lot to me when my youth leader came to my event, called me to check up on me and bought me lunch.  I knew he didn't have to do those things and when he did it showed he truly cared.  These things tore down my layers with the quickness.

To disciple our students we must pull back the layers and the best way to do that is through a relationship built on trust.

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