It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "the cooler our youth ministry is, the more students will come." But then it's easy to forget that "coolness" is the one of the most intimidating things in the world to a teenager. Every day our students struggle with the insecurities of feeling like they're on the outs or that they don't measure up. Why would we create a social environment at church that makes them feel that even more? What we really want in our ministry is for every student that walks through our doors to feel welcome. So how do we do that? How do minister to the farthest kid out and the closest kid in, at the same time? How do we love the visitor or the friend who joins the group keeping everyone at arm's length? How do we reach the cool kids and the "not-so-cool" kids who are all in the same room together? Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). I think we could all admit that the times we've loved our students well are the times we've actually empathized with them and put ourselves in their shoes. Join me in the class as we share our struggles and stories and encourage one another in our efforts to make our youth ministries more welcoming to all.
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