Students We Call “Orphans”

I always enjoy hearing from youth workers who used the free “Connect” training we provide on the FREE TRAINING TOOLS page on our website. Also referred to as “The Sticky-notes Training,” this little exercise is a fun training where you hand each of your leaders a stack of sticky-notes, encourage them to write down the kids they know and then stick them up on a wall on my “Six Types of Kids” graph (a process I outline in my Connect book, and provide a free ppt and video demonstrating it on our website).

A youth worker named Dave just tried the “sticky-notes” exercise with his team and discovered a group of kids they called youth ministry “orphans.”

Dave writes:

I bought your book Connect a few years ago when it first came out and used the accompanying powerpoint training with my staff and interns back in 2010. It was very effective stuff. As you know it is so easy to get caught up in the “doing” part and underemphasize the relational part of stumin, and that’s where we found ourselves.

Yesterday, I finished up teaching a three-week intensive leadership class for our high school ministry and used your Connect training again to “bring it all home”. We have a lot of new leaders in the high school ministry, so it was perfect timing. I am ashamed to say we had a third whiteboard completely covered with names of students I will refer to as “orphans”.  To be quite blunt it was an in-your-face wake-up call for all of us to the condition of our ministry. With post it notes containing student names on all three whiteboards, there were tears shed as we prayed over those names individually and corporately. The group committed to continue to pray for their “orphans”, outreach, & discipleship students on a name-by-name basis.

Leaders left the meeting and immediately began reaching out to some of their orphans, several of whom responded and actually came out to our high school service last night. I really believe your book & training is the catalyst that will help us turn the corner during this season and move forward. I appreciate all you do man, it’s impacting the Kingdom!

Thanks bro!

Dave Avery

Thank you David. I appreciate your encouraging words and your transparency. That sticky-notes exercise tends to bring stuff to light. You’re not alone.

Keep up the good work!

How about all of you—the rest of my readers who are youth workers? Have you tried the sticky-notes training? What are you doing to be proactive about connecting with kids and moving them towards discipleship?


About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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