encouraging relationships, youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry

Encouraging Intentional Relationships

By Doug Franklin August 21, 2013

Yesterday I looked at best practices for training adults who are volunteering in your ministry. Today I want to look at how to take that training even further by diving deeper into practical ways of helping volunteers build intentional relationships with students.

Programs in youth ministry are great in so many ways. They provide needed structure for students, they allow multiple ways for adults to be involved, they interact with students on multiple levels, and quite honestly, they look great to parents. But I hope we all know that programs alone will not change students or help them grow closer in their walk with Christ. Programs alone aren’t transformational. Real transformation happens in the context of relationships, and this is where well trained adult volunteers come into the picture. As a solo youth pastor you are not able to build intentional relationships with every student, but if you have volunteers who can help, it allows for more impact to take place.

In order for relationships to grow, students need to be “discovered” and the only way to discover what a student is all about is to spend time with them and ask questions. When adults spend time with students and ask them specific questions, they learn how to encourage, challenge, and pray for students in their ministry. A very practical way to help in this process is to teach adults how to use a “Pursuit Journal.” Basically it’s a small journal with pages in it filled with information that you want your adult volunteers to pursue in their relationships with students. Here is an example:

Pursuit Journal
Name __________________ Grade ______________________
Address _____________________ Phone ______________________
Email/Social Media/Blog________________________ _______________________
Parents’ Names ______________________________
Birthday ________________________________
Activities ________________________________
Favorite Anything _______________________________________

Then go to second level things, such as:
How is the student doing with:
Relationship with God

Being specific with the information the adult needs to pursue can help get them started in the relationship building process. Over time, finding out about these things will become second nature for them.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More