I'm sitting in Peet's Coffee (my favorite new hang out because their tea is great) enjoying a pot of English Breakfast tea while I journal (something I'm trying to do once in a while even though I've never been good at it....but today I'm being good at it). What started out as a normal cup of tea has turned into a great cup of tea because of the conversation at the table next to me.
It's a young married guy and a student who looks like he's in 9th or 10th grade. The moment they sat down I thought, "looks like a youth pastor hanging out with a student to me." Sure enough. As soon as they sat down the conversation begins to take a classic mentoring/discipleship turn: Small talk followed by a little bit of catching up followed by some deeper conversation followed by some great discussion about the life of David. As I listened I was reminded of a few things.
- Relational ministry really is the best kind of youth ministry. There's no doubt in my mind that the 30 minutes this kid has spent with his youth worker is way more effective than anything else that particular youth ministry has going on.
- Kids respond to caring adults. Relational ministry isn't easy, and takes a ton of extra time and effort but the pay off is huge.
- I don't do enough of it. Maybe the biggest reminder for me as I watch this whole thing unfold is that I simply don't do enough one-on-one ministry with kids. I've got a ton of excuses for why it doesn't happen like it should but none of them are really all that valid. Time to step up.