One of the best lessons that I have learned this year is the power of showing up. Whether it is a football game, a jazz band concert, or a chess tournament, your presence can make a huge difference. Since I made student’s events a higher priority I’ve noticed a huge difference in the strength of my relationships with students and the number of relationships I have with students. From my experience, I believe that this is one of the most powerful things we can do in relational ministry. The reason I believe in it so much is that it builds and creates relationships with several different people.
The student(s) you came to watch. Think about the people that came to your events when you were in high school. Mostly parents, maybe a few close friends if it was exciting enough. The people that go to your events are the people that love you. That is what you are telling students when you show up… you love them. You are saying that you care about what they care about. You are entering their world. You are showing them that your ministry doesn’t stop at the door of your church. It is crazy how much it means to them and it something that they won’t forget.
The student(s) that you see when you’re there. If you happen to go to one of those exciting events (football games, basketball games, musicals?, etc.) you might get to run into other students (or you can just bring some with you). It’s cool because the message of love and support that you are sending the student you came for is being seen by all of the others in the crowd. You are letting students know that your ministry cares for students all of the time, not just on the weekends and at small group. It is an awesome opportunity to meet some new students that might not even go to church. How cool would it be if their first impression of your ministry is shaped by you actively caring for a student?
The parent(s) when possible: When you go to a sports game, a play, or a concert, parents notice. It lets them know that you care about their kid… a lot. Make sure you take the time to meet and talk with the parents. It can sometimes be hard to find organic ways to do parent ministry, but this is one of them. You get the chance to brag about how awesome their son/daughter is and it is a chance for them to get to know you better. Your interest in their child and family will help form how they view not just you, but your ministry and church.
You don’t have to go to every game or birthday party, but make sure that every once in a while you’ll be there. Go to stuff and see what a difference it makes in your ministry.