So a student starts coming to your group because they have hit rock bottom and wants to do something to turn their life around. So naturally, the church is somewhere they think they need to go. And they are right. They jump all in. Making friends, reading the Bible, praying, all the stuff. Real, authentic relationships are forming, they are opening up, they say they are getting closer and closer with God to where they just need one more step forward to start a relationship with Him…and then they are gone. They disappear. They stop coming, don’t call or text back. You see on Facebook they are back to their old ways. What the heck happened? What do we do?
This just happened to me. I thought I would share about how I go about it and hopefully it can help somebody else:
- Let them know they are missed. Obviously something, whether inside them or inside the group, happened. I just to let them know they are loved and missed no matter what. Letting them know by either on Facebook or text or call, even when they do not respond back they will know they are not just going to disappear without a trace. I want them to know they are missed.
- Pray for them. Might seem obvious but I think it’s huge. Something going on, and sometime the only thing you can do is pray for them. Pray for their heart to be opened to what you saw them leaning towards when they were around.
- Sick the students from their school on them. I tell the guys in my group just to love on him at school. Not to over bearing, but even though he is not coming to the group anymore that doesn’t mean he is going to be ignored at school by the guys. They will talk to him at lunch, hang at school and always invite him to come back to group to hang out. They will feel the love from the group even if they stopped coming to the group.
- When and if they come back, welcome them like the prodigal son returning and make it known they were missed and that they are loved. Make it seem like they never have missed a beat.
It’s always rough seeing a student walk away when they were so close to knowing Jesus. We just need to be patient and pray God is working in their heart.
*I wrote this post a few days ago, and last night I had to come add this part on because a student in my group who has seemed to do this just came back to group for the first time in a long time. So for me, this works. It worked. It’s working.