One of the risks of having a large church or youth ministry is that people can go unnoticed.
We’ve taken steps to make sure that new and current students are greeted, included, and followed up with after they visit on a Sunday, but apparently our process isn’t perfect.
A student wrote this on the patio outside of our youth room a couple weeks ago:
Every single Sunday we have two small groups scheduled to do all of the greeting and new student check-in. They stand in our hallway, at the doors, and even inside the room. They’re there 15 minutes before service and 15 minutes into the service. It seems like a perfect setup… but we missed one.
For 3 years this kid has been coming, and for 3 years he has felt ignored.
Jesus leaves the 99 to go after the 1 who got disconnected. I love my 99, but this is a pretty clear cry for help.
This story does have a good note. One of my leaders saw this student right after he wrote this. He went up to him to talk to him but the student was angry and brushed him off. I looked for him the next week and saw him in the back of the room, in the farthest corner. He was sitting right next to another one of my students who had no idea about this little graffiti incident. He saw him sitting alone so he went over to talk to him and to sit with him.
I take a lot of pride in my students and our greeting format, so at first I got defensive and wanted to write this kid off. I want to blame him for not doing his part to get connected. I’m not going to do that though. I’m going to use this as inspiration to work even harder on making sure every kid feels like they’re noticed and known in our gatherings.