It is Summer Season and the Fraze family has been hoppin' around camps and mission trips experiencing all the greatness that is student ministry. In one word, it has been awesome!
Part of the Summer Season is reporting back to the home base, church leadership, the numbers (don't be cynical, it is a needed stewardship component of ministry). Numbers typically involve counting participants (adult and student), those served, those saved, those making decisions of some sort and...um...all that budget stuff. Again, all great things to know in order to effectively make future programmatic determination. However, there are numbers that are often overlooked that I want to encourage you to count and tell stories about.
If you have been in student ministry for any length of time you have discovered a truth. If you are new at this, here it is: Students are influenced more and remember time spent with you, other adults and students more than they are influenced and remember the lesson, activity or destination. This does not mean we throw away all programming and get sloppy in trip preparation and lesson delivery. It does mean that we learn to include other "countable" items in our numbers. For instance (just a few here):
- How many deep conversations about life (I am not going to quantify deep here--you will know if you had one) did you have with students?
- How much time did you spend playing games with students? Water ball is pictured below and it is one of my favorites (it is called various things in different pools but the point is the same--wrestle a ball into a goal and dunk everyone around you). It is a favorite because the experience provides a platform for trust to be developed so that students feel comfortable talking with you about that deep stuff mention above. A simple game of cards or making a craft with a student can provide the same platform.
Counting these type of numbers and asking your adult leaders to tell stories connected with these numbers is powerful! Such stories really let you know if your programming methods are effective. I know, I know..."David, we had a bazillion decisions to follow Christ at (name your favorite event)." Again, important number to count, but don't forget to count the other numbers as well. You may be surprised at the insight and long-term impact they will have on your student ministry.
One more thing, it doesn't hurt that such numbers and connected stories strengthen your leadership role with both students and adults. Oh, your senior pastor will really like the stories as well (just sayin').
Question: Do you have any great stories to tell from deep conversations with students this summer? (Remember, confidentiality is a must so change the names)