Alright I shared my blunders yesterday and today I want to share things I did that were effective when I was a youth leader. Let me say that by no means was I the perfect youth leader and if you read my last blog you can clearly see that, but in my desire to impact the lives of students I did found some success. Here is what I found to be effective:
1. I went to a ton of students events. I went to games, concerts, award ceremonies and visited them at lunch. I remember that it not only meant a huge deal to our students but it also meant a lot to their parents, especially as a volunteer youth leader.
2. I gave students rides to church. I drove all over the city to help students get to our youth group. As I mentioned yesterday I gave rides to female students without anybody with me, when I was corrected on this I did whatever I had to do to get another person to ride with me so I could keep giving rides to students that needed it.
3. I attended all youth events outside of church, these were great times to connect even more with our students. My favorites were camps, missions trips and retreats where I got to pray and do ministry with students. Some of my greatest memories with students were times outside of the church.
4. I personally planned events for our students and even planned a camp one year. This freed up my youth pastor from doing these things and it was an amazing experience for me. The stuff I learned from planning these things are priceless.
5. I volunteered in the office during the week. Whether setting up chairs, doing paperwork or making phone calls I wanted to help in every way in the youth ministry. Again this freed up my youth pastor to focus on his message and other things but also gave me time to connect with him, help us reach more students or even something as simple as the opportunity to pray over every chair that I set up. Being in the office also gave me random opportunities like going on a hospital visit with my youth pastor. If I wasn't in the office I would not have gotten this opportunity.
6. I was at youth every Wed and I came early. There is always stuff that pops up in youth ministry and I was able to help with that by coming early, I also gave my youth pastor the peace of mind of knowing I was going to be there every week. He never had to wonder, "Is Chris gonna make it this week?" This also helped me build greater relationships with our students, if you miss one week that is 14 days before you see them again, basically half a month, that's a long time.
7. If I noticed a student had missed a week or two I would call them, let them know we missed them and hope to see them next week! If my youth pastor didn't notice or make a call I had it covered, if he did then a student got two calls, either way that student knew they were missed.
These are some things that I found to be effective but I need to point out that the greatest part is that my life was changed. With every opportunity to serve I was stretched, grew and my life was impacted. That's the greatest part about serving, we not only impact the lives of others but our lives are also impacted.