Take it from a 35-year veteran, today's youth worker has tools of communication that make what we had twenty years ago look like preschool toys. Text messaging and Twitter have replaced the old phone-tree system of delivering messages. No need to wait for a local printer to make posters for upcoming events when a laptop can produce the same thing almost instantly. Better yet scrap the poster and post the event on Instagram!
We have some fancy stuff to help communicate information to students. But what about communicating the love of Christ? What is the best tool we have to accomplish this?
Before you answer, this tool may be one you've forgotten about . . . The greatest tool for leading students to connect the dots between God's love and their personal lives was best demonstrated by the master communicator, Jesus Christ.
While He used techniques such as object lessons, parables, and even lecture (the old stand by), I think Jesus was at His best one-on-one. Think about the woman caught act of adultery who was about to be stoned. Think about the impact Christ made when He said, "The one among you without sin, let him cast the first stone." Think about Zacchaeus, the hardened tax collector. He was forever changed when Jesus simply told him He wanted to have dinner at his house. Jesus' one-on-one encounters changed the lives of people forever.
The best tool for communicating God's love to your students? One-on-one, person-to-person communication.
A few years ago, my church put together a book of letters from former students in honor of my twenty years at the church. One letter that hit me big time was from a student who had passed through our youth ministry 15 or so years ago. This student said the most memorable thing about the time spent in youth group was one afternoon when I took this student around town dressed up as our VBS clown to film a segment to show in church. The teenager recalled our conversation and how special it made them feel getting my undivided attention for a couple of hours.
One-on-one time with students is a big deal! Today we are living in a very impersonal world. Now more than ever students need to experience the love of a personal Savior. All our technological toys are wonderful when it comes to passing on information. But the love of Christ is best communicated with a very simple thing we all have at our disposal: one-on-one interaction. And in these budget crunching times that is something that doesn't cost a penny.