Getting on Campus

2 comments Written on March 5th, 2012     
Filed under: Reflection
Bo Flores serves as the Director of Student Ministries at Christian Assembly in Eagle Rock, CA.  In this guest post, Bo explores the importance of youth pastors making a presence in their local junior and senior high schools.

It’s never ceases to amaze me how comfortable I become hanging in my own arenas where I “do ministry.” I’m totally comfortable meeting with a student at Starbucks or in my office. I love seeing my students when they come to one of our weekly programs. These are the places I am comfortable. It takes very little stretching for me to operate in these places. However, it has become more and more clear to me that this is not where my ministry ends.

I have realized that myself and my staff need to begin making efforts to have a presence on the local middle and high school campuses in and around Eagle Rock, where I do ministry. I recently took my position as the Director of Student Ministries at my church and have used the last six months to “find my footing,” which when I am honest with myself really meant “do the things I like to do and avoid what makes me uncomfortable.” The time has come, however, for me to branch out of my comfort zones and go to where my students do life.

There are more than 10 high schools within 10-15 miles of my church, with even more middle schools in the same area. Of the represented high schools, there are more than 10,000 high school students that attend school daily almost within walking distance of where I do ministry. The number of middle school students is even greater. How can I say I pastor middle and high school students when there are over 20,000 of them in my immediate surrounds and I do nothing to go to them and reach them? I become convicted as I write this now.

Aside from my own insecurities of going into the schools, (“Will they like me? What if no one talks to me? Will my clothes be out of style?”) there are obvious issues with having a presence on local public school campuses. Public school campuses are becoming harder and harder to get on to, at times for good reasons.

I say all of this to ask: Do you have a presence on the campuses of your local schools? If so, how have you built that relationship? What have you done to get on to campuses? What do you do while there? What have been some of the positives and negatives from your efforts? I would love to hear your experience and efforts!

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2 comments “Getting on Campus”

Great comments Bo.  I appreciate your honesty about how insecurities get the better of us.  I certainly feel that.  

The difficulty I have is that there are so many schools near me in Portland Oregon that it seems impossible to have a real presence in all of them.  I chose one, which has the majority of our students, to focus on. I get on campus there once a week or so by attending their Christian club.

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Great thoughts Bo!
I agree to that going to their turf is huge for relational ministry!

Growing up in a large city, my youth pastors were not allowed on campus at all. So for them, attending extra-curricular activities was there way to get onto campuses.

As a youth worker myself, I’ve found that every community is different. The previous community of about 100,000 people (3 high schools), had a V.I.E. program (Volunteers in Education). Youth workers in the community had so participate in this program, and agree not to proselytize while on campus. We had to re-up every other year.

In the community I currently serve (14,000 people // 1 high school) I am able to go in and out pretty much whenever. That being said, I am intentional to have a good report with the administration. Myself and other youth workers have offered to help chaperon dances and other activities which has also given us an ‘in’.

Ultimately, the key is to start asking, respectfully. Also, ask parents. They may be aware of volunteer opportunities or other needs a school may have that you could me.

Good stuff!

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