Inviting Students on Wandering Trips

Doing life together is hard. Jesus had it easy! He simply wandered around for three years doing life with the 12 guys, hoping who He was and what He was about would rub off onto them. Jesus didn’t have to balance kids, bills, a spouse, yard work, household chores, errands, and pet duty! So how do youth leaders who have a similar task – wandering around with students in the six years between 7th and 12th grade, hoping who Jesus is, and what He is about, attaches to their heart – make the most of their time to be present with students? Here are a few “wandering” trips where you can double dip:

Anytime you go to the hardware store

Hardware stores can become magical places for students when you ask them to help you with a project. It’s no longer the place they must be dragged through as their parents browse for the latest tool to rob them of their Saturday. Be prepared to answer a thousand questions about what things are, how they work, and why they cost so much, but also know every question they ask gives you an opportunity to become a person who “knows stuff.” This little 30-minute trip may be just a part of your day, but it will be the highlight of theirs.

Getting the oil changed in your car

You know you will have to be there awhile so take advantage of the time that would otherwise be wasted waiting. A killer score would be finding places within walking distance, especially thrift stores! Change your oil and find the crushed velvet orange jacket you were looking for!

The Post Office

Waiting in line is my favorite…said no one…ever. Having company makes the time seem more bearable and creates a space where conversations can happen about Jesus organically rather than in an environment carefully engineered to maximize spiritual retention. It’s what is known as “real life.” So talk on the way to and from the post office, ask questions in line, stop at Sonic on the way home, and do “real life” together.

In each of the above opportunities, the important thing to remember is this: It’s not about the task, it’s about the invitation. The fact that you have invited students to come with you as you do life makes the chance of them doing the same much more likely.

J.M. McGinnis
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