Blog/CYM Blog The Teens in Front of You by Kelly Colangelo As youth leaders it is easy to get distracted by the details behind youth ministry. We spend hours making the environment of a room look cool, we send multiple messages via social media, we run around picking up all sorts of crazy supplies for fun gather games and we do lots more of random yet intentional jobs. And, all of this is really important and definitely enhances and adds to the overall life night. BUT…wait for it…What about if we truly focused on that one teenager who God has placed in front of us? Whoa! It’s a good reminder for all of us involved in youth ministry to be truly present with the people in front of us. It could be 1 teen, 1 core member, or a large group; whatever it is – the challenge remains to embrace those in front of us. Here are a few simple steps to help facilitate this process: Ministry of presence Being completely present to the person in front of you is not only life giving, but also an awesome feeling on the other end (especially if a teen) to be heard, to be listened to, to be prayed with. It’s a great opportunity for us as youth leaders to speak the truth, push them beyond mediocrity and into a deeper relationship with Christ. It is in these deeper relationships that we have the potential to directly influence the lives of young people. Turn off technology! Sometimes we lose ourselves in the screen based technology culture. The phone, computer, tablet and other high tech devices have become not just an object, but for many a best friend. Don’t get me wrong, status updates, tweets and hashtags are awesome, but I am suggesting that we don’t let an object become front and center in our lives. Intentional prayer Recognize that everything we do flows from prayer. Be specific during prayer. Name the teens…especially those who are on your heart, those who you have had in small group, those you haven’t seen in a while. Intentionally ask the Lord to surround them. Simplicity Don’t lose sight of the simplicity that youth ministry can bring. Sometimes we think more lights, more sound, more this, more that. It’s about the person of Christ who tops everything. We can’t get better than that! It’s a privilege and joy sitting with a teen face to face being able to talk about the faith. Let us not forget that Life Teen is a relationship-centered ministry. As youth leaders, we should always be engaging in relationships with teens and encouraging them to a deeper relationship with Christ. Don’t miss out on the teens in front of you!