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One of the things about student ministry that I truly love is being able to go to our local Jr/Sr High School to cheer on our students as they compete in their various sporting events. For me, this is an area where we can make some of the biggest investments in our relational ministry with students. Coffee conversations, meals and one-on-ones are important, but there is something unique about watching a student striving to accomplish something special on the playing field. If you haven’t made it part of your ministry to visit our local high school, you need to do so!

Here are just three benefits that come from attending your local sporting events.

By attending your local sporting events you become a cheerleader for your students. Get excited about the game, and your students’ efforts. Cheer them on. Let them know that you will be there for them and congratulate them afterwards. When a student sees you taking time to be there for them, you deepen the relationship. It shows that you care for them, that you’re interested in them, and that they’re just not another number at youth group.

When I go to a game, I often sit with the parents instead of student. Why? Because it gives me the opportunity to make a connection with the parents. I get to hear from them; concerns, needs, thoughts, etc. It’s amazing how much you can learn about the family dynamics when you just sit and listen. Sitting with parents also gives me the opportunity to praise their kid in front of them. Every parent wants to hear that their kid is doing good, this is the perfect time to cheer them on.

By attending your school’s sporting events you get a snapshot of the school’s culture. Want to know what high school/junior high is like these days, go to a Friday night football game or a basketball game. All you have to do is sit back and watch. You will see who’s in and who’s not, who is with who, what’s hot and what you need to study up on. The pop culture is alive and well on most school campuses. Attending the sporting events is your window into the high school/junior high world.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to go to your students’ events, these were just three quick reasons why I go to our local high school. What I’d like to know is, if you attend sporting events, what are your reasons for going? What have you learned from cheering on your students?

How has it impacted you student ministry? Please share your comments below. I'd love to hear from you!

– Jay Higham

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