Sometimes it’s the simple things you say that really make the biggest difference in someone’s life. This is certainly the case in youth ministry.
Being intentional with what you say to your youth is vitally important. Best of all, it isn’t that complicated either. These words are simple but powerful. Here are five things you should speak often to teens:
I’m Proud of You
If we’re honest, don’t we all want to hear this? I have seen this simple phrase, spoken at the right time, change a student’s life. The teens you serve want to make you proud . . . whether it seems like it or not. Being mindful to tell them this often will make a huge difference.
Listen, it is no secret that people rarely say thank you in ministry. That does not—and should not—mean that we fail to do it, too.
Saying something as simple as thank you lets students know you not only appreciate them—you notice them. In the world we live in today, being noticed is often harder than one might think.
You are Loved
We have this on the wall in our student center right as you walk in: Here You’re Loved. Teens desperately need to hear this. More than hearing it, they need to see and feel it as well.
I Prayed for You
Everyone needs to know that someone is praying for him or her. I often text these simple words to students, leaders, and parents as they come to mind throughout the day (as I pray for them, of course . . . don’t lie). It’s rare that I do not get a response back.
Be intentional to pray for your students. Let them know you’re praying for them.
It’s Okay Not to be Okay
Teens need to know they don’t have to have it all together. It is okay not to be okay. They just can’t stay that way.
Letting them know it’s okay to have struggles, fears, doubts, and questions allows for honest and safe community. Make sure your students know they don’t have to always be okay.
JODY LIVINGSTON is the Youth Pastor at Kennesaw First Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia where he oversees Middle School and High School ministries. He has been married to his lovely life for 14 years, has four kids and drives a pretty sweet 1972 VW Beetle. He blogs at THELONGERHAUL.COM, has a great PODCAST, and can be found on twitter @JODYLIVINGSTON.