Making good connections with the students in your ministry is vital. One thing every student in your ministry will have is a birthday. Birthdays are one of the most overlooked connection points with our students. Usually they get drowned out in the busyness of our ministry, but I believe they are a great way to connect and show students for a day that you appreciate them and enjoy having them in your ministry.
Honestly, I’m not the best person to be writing about this. This is an area I am trying to improve and get better at. I want to use birthdays to connect with students and show them I love them. So here are a few things I’m going to start doing in the future that may help you as you try and capitalize on your student’s birthdays.
Use Facebook! Let’s face it, most of your students are on Facebook and your friends with them. Facebook keeps track of your friend’s birthdays and notifies you when it’s their birthday. Keep an eye on this as a way to remember which student’s birthdays are coming up.
Don’t underestimate a card. Don’t overlook birthday cards because you think your students find them lame. A simple birthday card with a hand written note from you will go a long way with students. Buy a box of goofy (keep it appropriate of course!) birthdays cards and send them to students when it’s their birthday. We actually have cards made with our ministry logo. That helps students identify with our ministry and makes them feel like they are super important, because they are!
Stick a volunteer on it. Delegate this area to a volunteer. Have them keep track of birthdays and write cards to students from your ministry when it’s your birthday. I’d suggest having the volunteer keep track of the birthdays, but have you as the student pastor or head leader write the personal note inside. That will mean more to students.
Take them lunch. You may not want to do this for every student in your ministry, but at least the core ones. Either take them their favorite fast food lunch to school or on the weekend take them to a fast food restaurant yourself. This will also give you some great one on one time with them.
Make a big deal in your service. This may not work for larger student ministries, but for smaller ones it works great. Bring the student up during your mid-week or weekend student gathering and make a big deal about their birthday. Embarrass them a bit (all in good fun) and make them feel like they have the spotlight for a minute.
I hope these simple ideas help you capitalize on your student’s birthdays. Again, I’m no expert in this area and trying to do better myself. Feel free to share your ideas and how you have done this in your ministry by leaving a comment below.
Austin is student ministries director at Christ Community Chapel (Stow Campus) in Northeast, OH. He enjoys reading, sports, spending time with his wife, and pointing students to Jesus. Follow him on Twitter @AusMcCann or check out his blog at http://www.austinmccann.com.