This is a guest post from Shane Pass, Minister to Children, at Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. Shane is a great friend of CentriKid Camps! To connect with Shane, visit his blog HERE.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, minister, small group leader, or just a friend to a child, there are exciting times to be had when you share a meal with them.
I recall my days in middle & high school when our Campus Life leader would come to visit at school. I hoped he would talk to me, sit by me, and affirm my worth in front of my peers. Maybe he would speak to my friends about Jesus in a way that I could not. His presence would break up the routine of the day-to-day lunch rush in the school cafeteria. He was just there to build relationships.
So I asked myself as an adult, how could I show these children they were important and deserved special attention? Their friends were worth meeting, and they had something to share. How could we make it fun? How could I make it memorable?
For five years I had the privilege of going to 32 Elementary schools and home school gatherings to enjoy a meal with kids from our church. Every Tuesday & Thursday I went to a different school and sat in a cafeteria from about 10:45am-1:00pm, moving around the room to visit with our kids. I listen, ask questions, and use my presence as an opportunity to help the child be bold to share their faith.
You can learn a lot about your children over pizza and tater-tots. It allowed me to poke around into a child’s spiritual life, home life, or listen for clues to what or who is important to this child. When bigger issues arose and I was needed as a minster to help them with tough times or celebrate with their decisions, we had already built some rapport.
Use personal touches to help break the ice. I rode my motorcycle to visit them. I wore my leather biker jacket and boots and brought in my helmet. This always started some kind of conversation. I brought my digital camera and obtained prior permission from the parents to visit their child and take their picture. At the end of each month, I would print out each picture of a child with me and mail it to them. Each photo said “Thanks for having lunch with Mr. Shane.”
Something amazing happens when you can be a little silly and have some fun with a kid over a meal. I still have many good relationships with those kids who are now serving with me in ministry that are High School, College, and young adults. Relationships over a meal can go farther than I ever dreamed.