We recently had a young lady join our youth ministry. She is as sweet as could be, a little shy, but I also sense an inner stength brought on by trial. This past week we kicked off our summer TRIBES and one of our tribe leaders bough shirts for the kids for like $1 a piece. This sweet girl came up to me and said (and I paraphrase),
” I know I have not been here long, and our leader gave us these shirts and I did not know whether it was for was for members or not. It was like that way at my last church.”
I was stunned, but there’s more…
“You see, in my last church I was left out alot and sometimes I even felt like the youth pastor was keeping me from joining things on purpose. I was an outsider.”
Are you feeling what I’m feeling? Anyone want to round up a posse and get this guy?
The problem is, sometimes we are this guy and we don’t even know it.
I told this gal, if you are here, you are an insider. You are with us. You’ve been with us several weeks and there are no hoops to jump through. You are one of us. She gave me a big smile and said thank you.
Let me say that I understand I am hearing only one side of the story and I have only known this girl for about a month. That being said, I have some suggestions on how to make insiders of outisders
- If everyone goes out to eat after youth make sure you invite them along and pay for their meal
- Offer them free food from your cafe
- Offer them scholarships to events if they are in need
- Find out what they are good at and let them be good at it
- Feature them in pictures on your social media pages
- Let them in on inside jokes
- Listen to their feedback or suggestions (better still, ask them personally)
- Don’t focus on the rules, focus on the relationships
Those are just a few o fly ideas. Let me know what you think, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org