My boss, Bryant, has a great story of how, when he was in high school, he started attending our church. Half of it involves a cute girl talking to him. But the other half (the half this post has the most to do with) involves two other high school guys talking to him, and visiting him at his home.
Because of those two guys (that were his age) and the way they showed care for him, he knew that our church was a place he wanted to be. They also created in him a value that we are now trying to create in our ministry.
Because of transitions of leadership in our student ministry in the past few years, 6th grade promotion has been a bit fluid. (2 years ago it was in May. Last year, in January.) This year, after meeting with our children's director and executive pastor, we've finally landed on a plan that we think will be good moving forward: promoting in the fall on the Sunday after school starts.
Leading up to our promotion last month, we did our best (in a few different ways) to instill in our students how important it was that they welcome our new students into our group. That something as simple as saying hello, or asking someone to sit beside them, could make a world of difference.
So, promotion Sunday came. And, you know what? Our students were great! I saw them initiating conversations with newbies, escorting them from the worship center to our student building, and sitting with them in preparation for Sunday School. In short, they were ministering!
I'm so proud of them!
Hopefully, our new students will feel like our church is a place that they can call home, but not because of how cool our building is or how great the music might be. Hopefully, it'll be because of other students caring for them!
Question: How are you training your students to reach out to their peers?