It’s easy for a student to get lost in the crowd of school, whether your school has 2,000 students or 20 students. One of the main jobs of school leaders is to make sure their students are doing well throughout the year, providing support when the students go through various processes, challenging and encouraging them to go deeper in their walk with the Lord. Below we are going to outline how we do student meetings in BSSM, and encourage you in your own student meetings.
What’s the Point?
Throughout the school year you will probably find it beneficial to meet with your students on a regular basis. Student meetings are meant to check in on the students and guide them through any difficulties they may face. It is also a great time to build connection and encourage growth in your students. This is a time to check on the students heart, learn of any obstacles they are going through, and give them guidance and encouragement as they process the school year.
How often you meet with students is really up to you. It’s going to vary between each student as to how many times to meet with the student and to set boundaries. When you determine how often to meet with your students, keep in mind the focus and purpose of your school. If you’re a discipleship school, you will probably need to meet with your students more than you would if you are a leadership school.
At BSSM, our third year students meet with their assigned first or second year students, and the pastors meet with their third year students while meeting with other students as needed. Most meet about once a month while also being available before and after school for quick connections. Because we have so many students in BSSM, third year students are required to meet with their students at least two times before Christmas break and two times after Christmas break.
You may find it beneficial to be available to all your students about 15-30 minutes before school starts and about 15-30 minutes after school ends. Many BSSM Revival Group pastors have found that a five minute conversation at the beginning of a conflict can save them a half hour meeting later.
What To Discuss?
If you’re not familiar with meeting with people and coaching them through their process, it can be difficult to start. The first meeting should be a “getting-to-know-you” meeting. This is where you and your student get to know each other and build trust with each other. . It’s a delicate balance of being vulnerable and transparent with your students without crossing any boundaries. It’s going to be different for each student, but always remember that you are the mentor coaching them through their process, not the other way around. You don’t want to cross any boundaries that may take you out of a position of influence in their lives.
Every other meeting is dependent on the student’s needs. Some students will just need someone to talk to and process their thoughts and feelings as they go through the ups and downs of school. Others may need someone to ask them questions and pull the gold out of them. Every single student is unique and will need to be pastored in a different way. Some students will be internal processors and some will be external processors. If you have a student that processes differently than you do, learn about that type of processing and find out how to best facilitate them.
As we mentioned before, some of your students won’t need to process as much as other students, and you may find yourself trying to figure out what to do during your meetings with them. Below are a handful of exercises for life coaching that may be useful to you and your students.
A Good Father
This exercise can help students who don’t quite know how good Father God is. Have your students create a mind map with the words “Good Father” in center. In the subtopic bubbles, have them list the different things a good father is. For example, kind, loving, encouraging, etc. For some students it may be difficult to imagine what a good father is. In this case, try having them imagine what kind of a father they want to be or have for their children (or future children). This exercise will help students realign their beliefs with Who God actually is.
What Do I Want? Bullseye
This is a great exercise to help your students get in touch with their hearts and their wants. Remember, many desires we have are from the Father, especially if they are good, pure, honorable, lovely, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). This exercise consists of three circles, each one inside of the other. In the outer ring, have your student list at least ten things they want that they can get fairly easily, such as dinner out with friends, a massage, get something they’ve wanted, or go out of town for a day. In the middle circle, have your student list five or six dreams that are a little more difficult to achieve, such as write a book, go on an international trip, run a church service, or be gifted a brand new car. Finally, in the innermost circle, have your student list two or three things they think they will never get, such as retiring at 30 or finding a spouse.
This exercise will help your students begin to dream with the Lord and realize their basic wants and desires.
Passions, Talents, Fears, and Jealousies
For this exercise, have your students write out four columns: passions, talents, fears, and jealousies. Under each column, have students list words that are true for them pertaining to that subject. For example, under the passions column, a student may list creating, business, community, personal development, and public speaking. The talents column could have public speaking, writing, pastoring, and strategic planning. The fears column could have success, failure, lack of knowledge, self-worth and rejection. And finally, the jealousies column could list things like well-known authors, people being promoted, no financial worries, and naturally charismatic.
Once your student creates their list, have them circle similarities in each column. See an example below.
Take this list and start speaking into your student’s life. Jealousies are just indications of who we are meant to be. Tell them who they are, and what they are called to be. Use this list to prophesy over your students so they can begin to see who they are called to be.
This is a fun exercise to do with your students if they find themselves hesitating to move forward. Let’s say your student wants to write a book, but they are hesitant to get started. Begin asking them “what if” questions, such as the following:
“What if you are able to keep a writing schedule?”
“What if your writing is amazing?”
“What if your book changes the world?”
“What if the first publisher that reads your book wants to publish it?”
“What if you end up signing a book deal right away?”
“What if your book saves someone’s life?”
“What if you become a successful author?”
The “what if” questions should all be positive and feel a little too “big” for your student to dream up on their own. It’s an exercise to help them dream again and see how big God really is, and inspire them to move forward with their dreams.
Regularly meeting with your students can help create lasting success in their lives beyond school. Your students will feel more known and loved after each meeting, and will know they are not walking through the process alone. We bless you with wisdom and discernment as you connect with each of your students.
Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills by Tony Stolzfus
Questions for Jesus by Tony Stolzfus