Two assumptions I have when it comes to junior high ministry are:
- Relational ministry happens best when good conversation occurs.
- Good conversation happens best when the “window” is open.
First, an admission: I like to talk, but I’m not the greatest at conversing. For a recent example, watch the latest episode of the SYM Show, and you’ll notice that I talk too much, I talk over Jason, I interrupt to get my point across (sorry, Jason…).
As a result, many of my relationships include lots of me talking about stuff I want to talk about when I want to talk about it! So I have been trying to practice the art of what I call identifying the “window of conversation” that everybody has. Let me explain.
Everybody has a time, or times, in their day that their individual window of conversation is more naturally open. For some it’s the morning, for others it’s as the evening is winding down. Some people like to talk in the heat of the moment, some would rather talk after things cool down. Some like to talk in the car, while others like to quietly stare out the window and watch the trees go by.
This is true for the junior highers in your ministry, too! Most youth workers love to talk, and most of us have lots of good stuff to say. But I’ve learned when I try to force conversation when my window is open instead of waiting for when theirs is open, the quality of the conversation suffers.
It takes time to figure out when the “window of conversation” is cracked open (and sometimes a crack is all it is!) for each student in your ministry. But I think you’ll discover that as you begin to figure it out….and wait for their window to be open instead of forcing your way into conversation on your terms, your conversations with students will become more meaningful.