Our hope is that every student, regardless of race, economic status, sexual orientation, faith or lack of faith, will feel accepted when they come to our ministry. Our hope is that we never put up barriers for someone coming to hear and experience Christ. Every student is encouraged to look beyond themselves and their friends to see that everyone in the room is being engaged, and therefore hopefully, feeling accepted.
Once a student feels accepted, our next goal is to help them feel like they belong. This may take some time, but usually after a few weeks, or after attending a camp, students begin to feel like this is the place where they belong. Relationships that are developed with other students is a significant reason for students feeling like they belong. Equipping our students to build genuine friendships within the group is of high value for us. We don't teach that you have to know everyone in the youth group because in a larger context this is almost impossible. Instead, we equip them with tools on how to build healthy, lasting friendships. That then leads to the “C” of our ministry.
We want every student to know they are going to be cared for. Knowing a student’s story is important. We train our leaders to practice the habit of listening and discerning what students are sharing about their lives. Student to student care is also important to us, and is something we encourage in our students.
Our goal is simple: when a student walks into our ministry we want them to feel Accepted, that it is a place where they can Belong, and be Cared for.
What are some of the ways you are helping students connect to your ministry?