|Courtesy of Kheel Center, Cornell University/
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It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, I know from personal experience. When I was a kid I lived in Hong Kong for a few years. When I was about 6 my family took a trip to Tiger Balm Gardens. The place was packed with people and it was a little nerve racking. My dad was taking my sisters and I through the crowd to see the sights as my mom waited for us on a bench. Because the crowd was so large it was hard to keep up and no matter how hard I tried it didn’t matter I lost them. I panicked as I searched the crowd for my parents, I shouted through the crowd, “Mom!”, “Dad!”, “Mom!”, “Dad”. Finally, I heard my mother’s voice as she yelled, “Chris, I’m over here!” As soon as I saw her, I felt at peace and safe.
- Know who you are
- Know someone at program
- Have been welcomed
- Greet Them At The Door – Having someone at the door to say, “Hi.” to your teens shows them that you were expecting them. When someone’s at the door it’s usually a sign of, “Come on in, we’re glad to see you.” Even opening up the door for them to walk in can go a long way.
- Have Plants – Now before you go buying that fica what I’m talking about are student leaders and adult ministers who’s main responsibility is to go up to a teen who is new and break the ice. The majority of new teenagers walking into your ministry aren’t going to strike up a conversation, they’re waiting for someone to accept them.
- Plan Icebreakers Beyond The Beginning Of The Year – Icebreakers should be revisited every so often, especially if your ministry is growing. Doing one in the middle of the year will help the new teens catch up and enter in on an even playing field.
- Follow Up – Whether it’s at the end of the night or a text/email thanking them for coming, make sure the teen knows you appreciated their time. After all your follow up might be the reason they come back.