Not every idea I have is a good one, but every once in a while I stumble on something I think is worth sharing.  This concept isn’t rocket science, but it has worked well for us in the stage our high school ministry is in.

I think my setting is unique being in a church of 1,000 people. I have shared it before but we are big enough that there is an expectation for excellence and “big church” things, but we are small enough that people still expect the intimacy and relationships of “small church” culture.  Every church, size, and ministry has its unique challenges and we the youth pastors still have to figure out how to respond.

As our student ministry has grown it has become harder and harder to know everyone personally and still know where they are at in their walk. I can’t talk to everyone on a Wednesday night and I don’t have everyone in my small group anymore. (in fact I don’t even lead a small group, but that is another post for another time)

I decided that I wanted to as best I could, once a year, to have some one-on-one time with as many students as I could. I want to ask how their relationship with their parents is, what God has been teaching them, how their small group is going, where God is taking them as a leader etc. This sounds cool, but lets just say it; your average student won’t make this happen. I can get my student leaders and some others whose parents want me in their life to talk to me, but to have a snapshot of our groups I need to reach the majority.  The majority of our Wednesday night audience doesn’t have time, won’t make time, and/or doesn’t think I am cool enough to meet with on top of already attending Wednesday nights, being in a grace group, and serving weekly.

The solution is dangling a carrot in front of them to make the meeting worth it.  For the last two years I have offered an exclusive t-shirt available only to those who meet with me in these meetings.

I am a t-shirt snob so I got out of my way to make these cool. I get a great design from my friend and even budget to print it on a shirt that people will want.  Here is this years design. American apparel with the cherry on top of foil printing on the shadow.

I put meetings before Wednesdays, after Wednesdays, on Sundays and every day of the week after school. It fills my schedule but it is invaluable to have intimate conversations with that many people and know where they are at, let them know that I value them, and know where they are as it comes to teaching and shepherding the masses.

What do you do to make sure you know your entire ministry as well as possible?



  1. 4930 Dower Dr
    LaPlata, MD 20646


    It’s only fair. I mean, I set up an appointment with you and Kristin during this school year. It’s not my fault that the shirts weren’t ready yet.

    small please.

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