As with anything in life, relationships matter. It’s not always about what you know, but who you know. That’s true for the corporate world, for the music industry and for lots of other places in life.
When I think of building relationships in student ministry, however, the reverse is often true; it may not be our need for us to know students, but it sure is a need for students to know us.
Let’s do an experiment: I want you to think of the single most influential person in your life when you were a teen. If you are thinking of more than one person, quickly narrow it down to one just for this exercise. Now, if you are like many youth workers I am privileged to lead on a regular basis, the one person you are probably thinking of from your teen years is an adult. Hal Hamilton taught me that "a student will gravitate toward the oldest person who will take them seriously." I have found that to be the case.
Jesus built relationships with people. He had a relationship with the masses and he was publicly known. He had a relationship with the crowds and many followed him, such as the seventy he sent out. He had a personal mentoring relationship with twelve and he had yet a deeper friendship with three. It’s through the life of Christ that we see that relationships with students are important. But why are they important? Here are five reasons: