Let's take a moment to review the relationship skills we have covered in order to develop a thriving urban youth ministry!
Relationship Building Skill #1 – Shifting From Lectures to Listening
Urban youth will build trusting relationships with people who make an intentional effort to understand them. Understanding comes through patient listening. Giving advice and biblical instruction are important elements of the urban youth minister’s role, but they should be done AFTER significant listening to urban youth.
Relationship Building Skill #2 – Becoming a Cultural Expert
Learning about an urban youth’s culture will help you build deep and trusting relationships with urban youth. Your growing knowledge and understanding of their culture will help you discern between moral issues and cultural preferences. Knowing about their culture will also help you develop patience, love and appreciation for many of the cultural components that are different from your own culture.
Relationship Building Skill #3 – Becoming the Relationship Initiator
We can’t wait for urban youth to want to talk to us, we must be the ones to seek youth out in relationship. Armed with cultural understanding and a positive, prayerful and patient approach, we can gradually build relationships with youth who were once strangers to us.
Relationship Building Skill #4 – Investing Relational Time Outside of Programs
Faithful urban youth ministry is built on a foundation of loving and trusting relationships. These types of in depth relationships can’t be built in just 2 hours a week at a Bible study with 30 other students. We need to invest time in the lives of urban youth outside of programs by getting into their world and inviting them into our world.
Relationship Building Skill #5 – Adjusting Your Relationship Expectations
Often, our relational expectations can prevent us from seeing the spiritual and emotional growth in the lives of the urban youth we are in relationship with. When we take the time to prayerfully consider the starting point of our urban youth and can acknowledge positive steps of growth, we build relationships with urban youth that are built on encouragement rather than disappointment.
Relationship Building Skill #6 – Learning to Apologize
As we develop deep relationships with urban youth, we will make mistakes. When these mistakes are pointed out by the Lord or by the urban youth themselves, we should be quick to apologize and take responsibility for our actions. We can trust God when we apologize to urban youth, knowing that he is using us as an example of Godly relating in the lives of urban youth.
What would it look like if you built a year's worth of training your volunteer team around these skills?