4 Traps That Will Derail a Girl’s Dreams

mousetrapThis week my blog has been devoted to a talk I gave to our female high school students during our student ministry’s sexuality series.  The response to these posts has been overwhelming!  So, I decided to add one more post.  This too comes from that original talk.

As I wrapped up the conversation, I warned our girls of a few traps that commonly derail women from what they really want out of romance and relationships.  Here they are:

1.  50% of Guys are Dangerous to Your Dreams

Unfortunately, pornography has become a massive issue in our culture.  Recent studies have shown that as many as 50% of guys are addicted to pornography.  I know that the last thing you want to think about is pornography but it’s important to understand that guys who are addicted to pornography are dangerous to your dreams.  If the statistics are true, this means that half the guys out there are not for you.  Here’s why:

Pornography is toxic to intimacy.  Pornography will corrupt the way a guy views women.  The longer he is addicted to pornography the more women become mere objects.   Let me speak plainly, you DO NOT want to end up married to a guy who is addicted to pornography.  I have seen and heard of so many marriages that were wrecked because of pornography.  If you discover that the guy you are involved with is addicted to pornography dump him and run—even if it’s the day of the wedding.

2.  You Get What You Dress For

Look, I understand that you crave and love the attention that you get from dressing sexy, but there is a cost.  First, there is a danger in viewing your self-worth more and more through the lens of physical beauty.  Eventually this will cause major problems to your self-image.

Secondly, what you really want is a man who will treasure you for all your life.  This kind of man is searching for a woman who is worthy of respect.  Whether it’s fair or not, men make snap judgments about a woman’s character based on the way she dresses.  If you want attention from the kind of man who will treasure you forever, aim for cute and save sexy for the night of your wedding.

3.  If you Want Good Coffee Don’t Go to Denny’s

This one will blow your mind:  You will most likely fall in love and marry a friend.  You will probably meet this friend somewhere that you regularly hang out.  This is how romance works.

You also don’t get to decide beforehand who you will fall in love with.  That’s the funny thing about falling in love—you fall into it.  It just sort of happens.  One minute he’s funny and the next he’s dreamy.  It’s like magic.

So, if you’ll most likely marry a friend who you meet somewhere that you regularly hang out, you should probably pay close attention to who you hang out with and where. In other words, if you want good coffee don’t go to Denny’s.  Go to Starbucks.

Confused?  If you want a godly man who will treasure you forever, hang out in the places where he’ll hang out.

4.  Prince Charming Won’t Change Who You Are

My final warning is this, don’t fall for the trap that the perfect guy will make you happy or complete you.  No guy, no matter how dapper or gentlemanly can love you more than God already loves you.   Be who you are in Christ.  Truly understanding and living out your identity as a treasured daughter of the King is the key to everything.


3 Things Girls Must Know about Sexuality: Part 3

Lily 3Piper5Today’s post is the third installment in a series about talking to female students about sexuality.  As I began my talk I asked the girls if I could practice a conversation on them that I planned to have with my own daughters.  If you’re starting to think I’m a creeper you might want to check out days one and two and or check my Facebook to confirm that I do in fact have my own daughters.

If you want to see you dreams come true in terms of relationships and love you must first answer these questions:  “Who am I?” and “What do I want?  The final question you need to be able to answer is this:

How Do Guys Think?

It’s all well and good to understand who you are and what you want but if you don’t understand how guys think you’ll spend most of your time being confused by how we act toward you.

  • We are Physically and Visually Oriented

Here’s the first thing you have to understand about guys: we are visually and physically oriented.  Women, as you already know, are relationally and emotionally oriented.  Let me illustrate how this works in dating.  Imagine yourself walking along the beach during a beautiful sunset with a guy who you are attracted to.  He is looking deeply into your eyes, speaking softly, using words like, “love, “beautiful” and “forever.”  What happens to you in the moment?  You forget where you are, your heart starts to do that butterfly thing and you feel a warmth creep from your toes to your hair and you are completely lost in the moment.  In fact, if you’re not careful you are liable to do something you regret.  In other words, the atmosphere, words, attention and romance sweep you away and make you more likely to do something dumb.

It’s totally different for a guy.  Do you want to know what sweeps him away and makes him more likely to do something dumb?  Two things:  your body and…your body.  OK, that’s only one thing but you get the point.  Look I know it sounds weird or maybe you think it is gross but the truth is, this is how God created us.  We are obsessed with you and specifically your body.  You have power over us.  The more that your body is exposed and the closer it is to us the dumber we get.

So, the moral of the story is this:  if you don’t want to cross your boundaries tell him to shut up when he uses the “L” word and wear as many clothes as you can.  But seriously, just understand the differences in the way we are wired.  When there are candles and he’s speaking to you lovingly, you get dumber.  When your body is close to his and you are kissing him, he gets dumber.  If you aren’t married both of these scenarios can be dangerous.  If you are married it’s really quite awesome.

  • We Don’t Want to be Chased

Here’s another thing that guys want:  to conquer you.  I don’t mean that in any sort of gross or sexual way.  I mean that a guy wants to pursue you and win your heart.  I always tell people that I dated my wife for a full year before she started dating me back.  She played hard to get and that was a really good thing.

All I can say is that, the kind of guy who will treasure you forever is the kind of guy who has the confidence and moral capacity to pursue you.  The kind of guy who won’t love you in the way you deserve doesn’t have the strength to pursue you.  He is a sissy and you don’t want to end up with him.  The reverse of this is also true, the kind of guy who will love you forever doesn’t want to be chased by a girl because girls like that are not worthy of respect.  See also Potipher’s wife.  A man wants to treasure a woman who is worthy of respect and love.  So, if you’re chasing after a guy who you like…stop it.  Trust me.  If he is the kind of guy who is worth your time, he will pursue you.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish this series with a few thoughts on traps that can derail a girl and keep her from her dreams.



3 Things Girls Must Know about Sexuality: Part 2

Lily 2Piper3









A few weeks ago I gave a talk to our female high school students in which I asked them if I could practice a talk on them that I planned to have with my own daughters when they were older.  Today’s post is the second of three parts in this conversation.

Here’s where we’re at:  If you want to see you dreams come true in terms of relationships and romance you must first answer this question:  “Who am I?”  The second question you need to wrestle with is this:

What Do I Want?

  • Treasured

I would argue that when it comes to the realm of romance, what you want is The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.  And by that I don’t mean all that gross stuff in the beginning of the movie with the piano in that old house, or even that cute lying down in the middle of the street scene.

I’m talking about how the husband relentlessly pursues his wife for all of her life.  He never gives up on her, fights for her, loves her passionately and sticks by her side despite the fact that she loses her marbles and doesn’t even know who he is.  That movie is guaranteed to make you cry because it speaks to your deepest and most secret desire.  You want to be treasured.  You want to be fought for.  You want a man to treat you like a princess, not just when you are young and beautiful but when you are old, saggy and senile.

  • Who Can Treasure You?

So, here’s my question:  what kind of guy will love you like that?  Some of you already have the experience to know that the answer is not, “any good looking guy who notices you.” The honest truth is, not every guy you run into can love you like that.  Let me say it another way, not every guy you fall for has the moral fabric to produce that kind of love.  Not every guy who chases you can love you like that.  Not every guy who tells you that you are beautiful is willing and able to treasure you.  It takes strong character and inner security to pursue a woman like that.  It has to be a quality man who has built his life on Jesus because in my opinion only Jesus can produce that kind of love.

  • Don’t Sacrifice Your Dreams!

This is my challenge:  Don’t base your dating decisions on what you want today or even what you want next week.  Base your dating decisions on what you want in thirty years.  Instead of imagining a hot date on Friday night, imagine two rocking chairs parked awkwardly close to each other on an old familiar porch.  Do not sacrifice your dreams for temporary fulfillment.

The unfortunate reality of our culture is that 90% of the guys who will show interest in you do not possess the character required to treasure you and love you in the way you really want and deserve.  And yet, you will have days when you are lonely.  There will be seasons of life in which every one of your friends is in love and you have no one.  I understand that being patient isn’t easy.  But hey, when you get lonely eat some ice cream—for reals.  Instead of texting that boy who isn’t worth your time, eat a snickers.  Don’t sacrifice your dreams for the attention of some boy who doesn’t have it in him to treasure you.  You are much too valuable for that.

And remember who you are.  Until you embrace your identity in Jesus and understand how desperately your creator loves you, you will not be strong enough to exercise the patience that it takes to wait for the right kind of guy.  Work on your identity.  You will never be more loved than you are right now.

3 Things Girls Must Know About Sexuality










A few weeks ago I talked to our female high school students and leaders about sexuality.  I began by introducing them to my daughters through a picture on the screen behind me.  I asked them for permission to practice a conversation I planned to have with my daughters when they get a little older.  The next three days of my blog will be devoted to what I said.

If you want to see your dreams come true—in terms of relationships and marriage, and I know all of you have an image in your mind of what your wedding will be like, down to the dress and the colors—then you have to be able to answer three questions.

Who am I?

  • You are a Masterpiece

First, you need to understand that as women you are the pinnacle of God’s creative abilities.  He created you last.   You’re the, “Now I’m just showing off” part of creation.  Every artist has a masterpiece and for the artist who built the universe, you’re it.  I get the impression from the scriptures that God is incredibly proud of “woman.”  You should take comfort and pride in your beautiful uniqueness.

And understand this:   God implanted a ridiculously powerful magnetic pull within men to be enamored with you. Perhaps you’ve experienced our eyes following you.  Kind of awkward I know but we are created to be drawn to you.  In our minds, you and more specifically your body are more alluring and beautiful than mountains, waterfalls, sunsets, shootings stars, and anything else that you can think of.  God has given you an incredible and special gift and that gift is your sexuality.  How you use it is completely up to you.  You can waste it or invest it.

  • You are Desperately Loved

Not only are you incredibly valuable to God as the masterpiece of His creation, but you are also desperately loved.  Jesus became a human, suffered and died and was raised back to life in order to rescue you from your sin and rebellion.  God loves you, and I mean you specifically, enough to sacrifice His very life to bring you back to Him.  Understand this:  you will never be more loved than you are right now.  No one or nothing could make you more loved than you already are.  You are desperately loved.

Secondly, you need to understand that your beauty is anchored in what God has said about you.  Psalm 139:13-14 tells us that God knit you together in your mother’s womb.  In case you were wondering, humans are not mass produced.  God lovingly creates each one of us individually.  He takes immense satisfaction in who you are.  He personally constructed your personality and body.  Hear this, He purposely gave you the body that you live in and he is immensely happy with it.

  • Beauty is NOT Defined by Culture

In our culture, “what is beautiful” is defined by a bunch of fat, gross rich guys who’ve been divorced 15 times, sitting in a gaudy office making a crap-ton of money from exploiting women.  If you take your cue from them you will always struggle with not feeling good about yourself.

Each of us needs to decide where we will look when it comes to our identity and value.  You can choose to look up or look around.  When you look up you listen to what God has said about you then you become grounded in the reality that you are God’s masterpiece—handcrafted and desperately loved.  When you look around you are resigned to comparing your body to the magazine rack and internet cartoon women.  Computer cursers elongate them, make them bigger in some parts, smaller in others and shade their faces like a coloring book.  In our culture, the standard for beauty is a cartoon.  This isn’t fair and if you fall into the trap of comparing your body with a cartoon you’ll constantly struggle with feeling good about yourself.

My prayer for you is that you would look up and understand how beautiful, amazing, treasured and important you are.  You will never be more loved than you are in this moment.  Live in this reality and you will find life.

When you truly understand who you are in Jesus and begin to live out of that identity you become more and more whole and at peace every day.  When you are at peace and content with who you are then you are ready to love and be loved by someone else.  In other words, when your identity is built around Jesus you will become emotionally healthy enough to pursue your relational dreams.

Warning: Youth Ministry Will Wreck Your Personality

iStock_000011929864SmallBack in the day I was incredibly outgoing.  I was the life of the party.  You could always count on me to be fun, zany, happy and more than a little obnoxious.  In high school I was that guy who could mix with any social group and was liked by pretty much everyone.

Anyway, the point is back in high school and college I was an extrovert.   Every personality test I ever took confirmed this.  If you are a DISC person, I was a high “I.”  If you’re into that weird animal personality test, I was an otter.

Here’s the thing, after a decade in student ministry, I can tell you with absolute certainty that I am no longer an extrovert.  How do I know?  Crowds, conversations, entertaining—they all drain me.  Malls?  Don’t even ask.  When I need to recharge I want a good book, a coffee shop and ear buds.  Side Note:  if you see me in Starbucks with aforementioned items feel free to smile and wave…nothing more please.

So what happened? I’m not exactly sure.  All I know is that we were on a mission trip, there were too many freshmen boys and I torched a kid’s Elmo doll (true story).  Or maybe it’s a decade of being the funny guy, the conversation initiator; the salesman of our ministry to volunteers and parents, the counselor to far too many broken kids and the defender of a couple too many mistakes to bewildered bosses and board members.  Whatever it was, student ministry has literally knocked the extrovert out of me.  I am an ex-extrovert.

At first I panicked because with thoughts like, “I don’t really like people anymore” I wondered if maybe it was time for a career change.  I floundered for a while but in the last year, I have fully embraced my new personality.  At first it was a little embarrassing but now I am an introvert and proud of it.  I no longer feel guilty about wanting to be alone or feeling anxiety about initiating conversations with people I don’t know.  Don’t blame me, I’m an introvert.  Don’t hate!  I’m just better suited to a book and a coffee shop.

I’ve learned that being an introvert has some advantages.  Here’s a few:

  • All this newfound alone time has gifted me with space to think creatively and strategically—which I love to do.
  • Introverts don’t over plan the student ministry calendar which leads to more volunteer freedom and less burn out.
  • Introverts don’t pass out cheesy evangelism tracts or preach judgment on street corners.
  • As an introvert my filter is much stronger.  Based on quantifiable research I now say 50% less dumb stuff.

So what about you?  Are you feeling worn down?  Running on fumes?  Maybe student ministry has knocked the extrovert out of you.  Maybe you too are an ex-extrovert.  I suspect that there are a bunch of us in student ministry.  Fear not, this doesn’t mean you can’t do extroverted stuff it just means that you need to understand that extroverted tasks will drain you and you’ll need to schedule times to recharge.

Has anyone else experienced this?  I’ve love to hear your thoughts.  Maybe we can start a support group…never mind, that would be weird.

Giving Your Graduates a Book is Lame.

4.1.1Look, I’m sorry for offending you.  I know that gifting your graduates with a book is tradition.  At the risk of further infuriating you, I’m just going to come out and say it:   Your students don’t want a book.  They most likely won’t read it and even if they do they probably won’t remember what the book was about when they are struggling through the treacherous first two weeks of college.

For the first 6 years of my student ministry career my well orbed transition strategy included a nice Christian book about graduating, shaking the student’s hand during our church’s graduation ceremony, and an appropriate side hug.

Here’s the thing, our graduates don’t want or need a book.  However, they are desperate for REAL help in transitioning.  Consider replacing or adding to the book with these three crucial transition pieces.

A Hand-Off

We need to stop simply hoping that our graduates connect with a church or ministry and start actually connecting them.  Here’s what I do:

  • Make a list of all your graduates and what they are doing next year.
  • Learn where each school, military training facility, etc. is located geographically.
  • Research churches in the area.  Pick one similar to your church—or the church you wish your church was (ouch!)
  • Discover what campus ministries are active in the area.
  • Contact reps from churches and campus ministries and request that they contact your student in August, before they arrive on campus.
  • Do not give up until you find a good church or ministry who actually contacts your students
  • Follow up with your student to see how it went.
  • Add good ministry/church connections to your database for next year

A Mentor

The first semester of college is about as disorienting as it gets.  Students need a mentor to keep them grounded.  In our high school ministry, small group leaders transform into transition mentors during a student’s freshman year of college.  In order to achieve this we only hire volunteers who are committed to serving as a small group leader for 4 years and then we constantly vision them with Sticky Faith’s 4+1 concept.  Most leaders attach so strongly to their students after two years that they naturally commit to something much deeper and longer. 4+Life

A Care Package

Do you remember how awesome it was to get a care package from your mom when you were in college?  So good!  A few years ago we stumbled upon this idea and we’ve been doing it ever since.  The feedback we get from our graduates is incredible.  The key is to make sure the package lands within the critical first two weeks of college.  The goals are to remind them that we haven’t forgotten them, still love them and to encourage them to engage Jesus and plug into a church or ministry.  Here’s what we put in our care package:

  • A crap-ton of candy and snacks
  • A LifeLine thumb drive and lanyard.  On the thumb drive are digital devotionals.
  • A Starbucks Card (go to Starbucks…do devotional)
  • Letters from LifeLine staff and small group leaders (we still love you…GO TO CHURCH!)

So ditch the book and adopt these practices.  We must do more to help our students transition.  If you have other ideas that have worked well in your ministry I would love to hear them.

The LifeLine Home Shopping Network

I don’t have a great memory but I think there is a verse in the Bible that reads something like, “without fun, the people will be bored and leave your ministry.”  I believe it’s found in Hezekiah 47 or perhaps the book of Hesitations…

Anyway, we consider ourselves to be a biblically centered ministry and that’s why we produce our own weekly announcement videos.  They may or may not be actually funny but our students and volunteers love them.  Here’s a classic from earlier this year.  Watch out, there are a ton of inside jokes and references to people you may not know.  Just take my word for it–it’s funny.  Feel free to steal the concept or share an idea from a video you’ve made.


Announcements | Dec 12 & 16 from LifeLine Student Ministries on Vimeo.

Want Astronomical Volunteers? Give Them a Break!

We have astronomical volunteers.  Part of the reason why they are so awesome is that we train them for an hour before every large group program.  Another reason they are so great is that we give them the summer off.  No one can perform at astronomical level indefinitely.  Here’s a snippet of the training we provided on how to lead well while taking the summer off.


The first thing we want our volunteers to do over the summer is rest.  We tell them to pull back a little and recharge.  They gave us 31 Sunday nights between Labor Day and Memorial Day.  We know they are worn down and ready for a break so we give them one.  We don’t ask them to show up at Bible studies or whatever else we might dream up for the summer.  If we decide to do any programing during the summer, it’s entirely on our staff to pull it off.


While we encourage our volunteers to rest, we still ask them to stay engaged with their small group students, particularly through social media.  I specifically asked them to communicate with their students at least once a week through whatever social media platforms they share with their students.  I hear Xanga is all the rage.

In our structure each leader continues with the same small group year after year so it’s important to maintain the relationships over the summer.  In addition, a little, “Hey, I’m still here and who knows when I might ask you what you did on Friday night” provides students with needed accountability.


Social media is an amazing tool but it can’t replace real life interactions.  Face to face conversations are still exponentially more meaningful to students.  I asked our small group leaders to invite their groups to do something (a movie, a trip to the beach, a service project or whatever) at least once during the summer.  Some of our leaders are all-stars and they continue to meet with their groups all summer long but I know that this is an unrealistic expectation for everyone.


Because our small group leaders are the functional pastors and shepherds in our ministry, our discipleship impact is dependent on the quality and maturity of our leaders.   We work hard over the summer to recruit the best leaders we can find.  However, it is difficult to describe to a person who has no background in our ministry exactly what we’re asking them to commit to.  Because of this, our best recruiters are our current and former volunteers.  They know what we are looking for and they can describe what it’s like to volunteer in our ministry.  Understanding this, we ask our volunteers to identify people within their circles who would make great LifeLine volunteers.  This “refer-a-friend” method has led us to many of our best volunteers.

So if you want astronomical volunteers, give them a break.  But before you cut them loose give them clarity on what it looks like to lead well while taking the summer off.

Do you take the summer off?  If so, how do you vision your volunteers for the summer months?




image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mortengade/


3 Things You Can Do to Fight Faith Abandonment

We’ve all seen the doomsday statistics about how many students are walking away from church and faith when the get into college.  If you’re like me you probably have a few names and faces that represent the numbers in those statistics.  What’s difficult is that while you’re spinning on the hamster wheel of weekly student ministry it can be difficult to think strategically about college transition.

The temptation is to become paralyzed by the hugeness of the problem.  Guilt and fear tells us that we need to restructure our entire ministry because everything we are doing apparently sucks.  This is a dirty lie.  The truth is most of what we are doing in student ministry is great for the long-term faith development of our students.  Instead of scrapping your entire structure consider tweaking your ministry.  What is one thing we can do differently to improve college transition?  Here are 3 suggestions of ways to tweak your approach to college transition.


Who am I?

Perhaps the biggest issue our students face as they graduate from our ministries is that they don’t know who they are.  They don’t have a clear picture of how God has designed them or what He might be calling them to.  Helping them make progress in this area can be a huge service to your students and maybe even save them a few thousand dollars in college tuition.

Maybe the way to tweak your ministry is to help your seniors discover a little about how God has wired them.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to helping students understand who they are.  Currently, we are using Donald Miller’s Storyline as a template for our discussions.  Jon Acuff’s Start may be more geared for adults but it’s hilarious and insightful.  Finding Your Way is also another great resource that is specifically designed with this purpose in mind.


Senior Retreat

Maybe you don’t have time to create an additional program just for seniors but I bet you do have a weekend available somewhere during the year.  A retreat just for seniors is a great first step toward improving college transition.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Find a cabin or a lake house and spend the weekend helping them build a strategy for how to grow spiritually during their first year of college.  Our version of this is called Senior Sneak.  See what we did there with the two “S”s?  Genius.


Transition Mentors

Programs will never compare to relationships.  An entire year’s worth of transition curriculum isn’t worth much unless caring adults are pouring into the lives of your students.  Without mentoring relationships students will have trouble implementing the principles you are teaching.

Perhaps you’re too busy for either of my previous two suggestions.  That’s fine.  Delegate it.  Recruit other people to do it.  Find mature and caring adults who are willing to mentor students and turn them loose.  Even if you do have the time and resources to develop a college transition ministry, you should still pull in quality adults as mentors.  Inter-generational mentoring relationships are like a magic bullet against faith abandonment in college.

Faith abandonment in college is a huge problem but don’t let it paralyze you.  Instead of restructuring everything, simply take a step in the right direction.  For now, pick whatever suggestion sounds best.  If none of them sound good then invent your own.  Just take a step.





Image courtesy of t0zz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Building a Fan Base for Your Student Ministry

I learned early on in my student ministry career how important it is to have a strong fan base.  And, I’m not talking about students.  I can’t overstate how valuable it is to have zealous adult fans—particularly adults who have influence within your church.  When you do something dumb like leave a kid at winter retreat (in my defense he was extraordinarily short) or when it comes time to convince your senior pastor that you need a ginormous new student building, having a group of fans who will go to bat for you is a huge advantage.  So, how do you build a strong fan base?  Here are a few ideas.


A Trustworthy Brand Creates Fans

We love brands because in a fast moving and ever changing culture, good brands consistently deliver trustworthy products.  Once we decide which brands represent who we are, most of us stay incredibly committed for life.  This is because we can trust Apple or Starbucks or Nike to consistently deliver products and experiences that wow us.

In our student ministry we attempt to capitalize on the reality of our consumer driven culture by building a trustworthy brand.  The biggest part of this is delivering consistently great experiences.  We want our students to know that they will experience hilarious videos, high quality worship music, an engaging teaching and small groups led by adults who care about them and are interested in their lives.  By design, we don’t attempt to do much more than this.  By keeping our structure simple and delivering a high quality “product” week after week we build trust in our brand and by extension a stronger fan base


Happy Volunteers Become Zealous Fans

I am convinced that the smartest thing you can do as a student ministry leader is invest in volunteers more than students.  If your volunteers are well trained, well cared for and serving in ways that are meaningful and life giving, they will become huge fans.  I’m talking about the kind of fans that will storm the field after a win and throw obnoxiously gross stuff at the ref when he blows a call.  If you think about it, you want both celebratory passion and angsty (just invented that word) passion on your side.

If your volunteers love serving in your ministry, not only will they amplify your ministry’s effectiveness but when they move on to other volunteering opportunities, or parenthood or whatever, they will continue as lifelong fans of your ministry.  Translation: That 22 year old volunteer will becomes a 35 year old board member who shows up for the budget meeting with your ministry’s logo painted on his bare chest, carrying a placard reading, “Mo Money! for [insert your ministry’s name].”  And isn’t that the kind of passionate fans we want in our corner?


Happy Parents Become Zealous Fans

Unfortunately, we as student pastors have a reputation for being screw offs.  What I mean is that we are more likely to get a chuckle and a roll of the eyes than a nod of respect.  This isn’t really a good thing when it comes to building a fan base.

Parents can be powerful allies and fearsome enemies.  I don’t have to explain this because you already know.  Here’s the thing, when you understand what parents want and play to their desires, 90% of parents will become zealous fans.  Don’t worry about the 10%, they are crazy.

Anyway, what is it that parents want?  Trustworthiness.  They want pastors, small group leaders, and an overall ministry structure that they can trust.  What builds trust?  Consistency—Consistent communication, a consistent schedule, consistent behavior from small group leaders, consistent responses to questions and concerns , consistent, consistent, consistent.  Parenting a teenager is a big ol’ bucket o’ chaos.  When we offer an oasis of consistency and trustworthiness, parents are very likely to jump on the student ministry bandwagon and when parents are happy they become zealous fans.

I know there is much more to be said about building a student ministry fan base, but this is a bit of what I’ve learned.  I’d love to hear a few of your ideas.