Building Relationships with Students – Matt Losee

Lee Lethers Podcast

On today’s episode of the Multiply! Podcast, Brian is joined by Matt Losee, the Youth and Worship Pastor at New Hope Community Church in Queensbury, NY. Listen in as Brian and Matt discuss practical ways to connect with the students in your ministry and the life-changing value of building lasting relationships.

Takeaways: 

There are few things more important in ministering to students than building relationships. If a student doesn’t trust you or think you care about them, they will not be interested in what you have to say to them or teach them.

Why is it important to build relationships with students?

  • God has hardwired us with an innate drive and need to be connected to God and to one another
  • We are made in the image of God and reflect parts of who He is
  • Part of what fulfills us as people is when we are connected to others
  • Proverbs 18:1 – isolation often leads to negative results
  • Real ministry only happens in the context of real relationships

How did Jesus approach relationships?

  • He looked at building relationships with individuals and groups differently
  • Jesus taught in the everyday – utilized His daily platform
  • He took His disciples on “mini retreats” – sometimes it is good to get away from everyday life
  • Jesus brought His people on ministry with Him – they served together

Groups vs Individuals 

  • Individual – know what your destination is with that student (becoming more like Jesus)
  • Individual – know where they currently are spiritually
  • Individual – spend time with them personally
  • Individual – have consistent and spontaneous times to connect (consistency communicates commitment)
  • Groups – spend time building partnerships with the really interested group who can influence other students
  • Groups – be strategic about where you spend your energy
  • Groups – know where and when you can make the biggest impact

Encouraging leaders

  • Don’t just learn about students – do what your students do alongside of them
  • Help your leaders and brainstorm ideas with them about how to connect with students
  • Help them choose the students that they are able to connect with

Reaching uninterested students

  • Try to find multiple avenues to interact with them
  • You cannot force them to be interested
  • Show that you are interested in them – go to their events
  • Understand that they may never respond to you – be faithful with what God gives you

Helping youth leaders

  • Set healthy expectations for them
  • Don’t under-value showing up to youth group
  • Help them make the most out of their time
  • Encourage them to make connections with students throughout the week
  • Be reasonable with scheduling – make sure the majority of your leaders can be present
  • Take time in the selection of youth leaders

Partnering with parents

  • Don’t assume that parents know what youth ministry is
  • Over-communicate to parents
  • Build trust with parents
  • Create an open FB group for parents
  • Be transparent with them
  • Be available

Create a comfortable environment 

  • Bring food
  • Have transparent and welcoming leaders
  • Look for ways to create easy avenues
  • Have hangout times during youth group

Resources: 

Matt’s Podcast – Looking Unto Jesus: https://loseematt.wordpress.com/

The Lost Art of Disciple Making – LeRoy Eims: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Art-Disciple-Making/dp/031037281X

New Hope Community Church: http://www.sharingnewhope.org/

Podcast email: Multiply@wol.org