Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a parent telling me that her son (a high school freshman) would not be participating in my congregation’s high school youth ministry. This is not the first time I’ve received such a message from a parent. Each time I do, my heart breaks a little. I lament the family’s decision to write-off our youth ministry before even giving it a chance.
A few short hours after she sent this message to me, this parent’s son was ding dong ditched by some of the active students in our high school youth ministry. When the family opened the door, they discovered a bag of goodies waiting for their son.
We call this bag of goodies our “Youth Ministry Survival Kit”. It’s one small part of our strategy to welcome freshmen into our high school ministry.
Each year, before our high school ministry begins it’s fall programs, we intentionally assign all of our incoming freshmen to a few big buddies – people already active in our high school ministry. Among other things, our big buddies commit to putting together a Survival Kit for their little buddies.
To ensure that no one feels as though they got the shaft, each Survival Kit contains the same basic items. That said, because big buddies shop separately for their items, each Survival Kit is a bit unique. Each item in the Survival Kit relates, in some way, to our high school ministry.
For example, this year’s Survival Kit included: