This is a great time of year for me because I get to go a bunch of football games and call it work-related. It seems like each week I am attending two or more middle school or high school sporting events. I don’t just do it because I like sports. I do it because it allows me to enter the students’ world.
Attending school events shows students that you want to be involved in their life outside of church. It demonstrates that you view their discipleship as an all-the-time thing rather than a Sunday/Wednesday thing.
When I go to the games I don’t expect to have some amazing conversations about the Trinity. Instead, I try to simply say hi to as many students as I can. It’s like marketing–you try to make as many impressions as possible. Be visible. Be known so that you might leverage this into making an impact later on.
I have seen the impact firsthand so I know how much of a difference it makes. During my first couple years I rarely attended sporting events at the schools. Eventually I realized that I was making a big mistake. I’ve seen students come back to the church because of a quick interaction at the concession stand. I’ve gotten voicemails from parents saying how much they appreciate my investment in their student. I’ve met a ton of kids who I would have never met if I waited for them to show up at my church.
I encourage you to make this a part of your ministry approach. Be a part of your community. If it feels a little awkward, take a posse with you. I do whenever I can. When older students come with me to the middle school games, they get to be part of making connections as well. You can add so much value to your ministry when you leave the halls of your church and jump into the world of the students.