The Most Important Thing You Could Do for Students This Week

Last week I wrote messages. I planned events. I went to meetings. A lot of meetings

I spent time training up a few volunteers. I even took the time to have a meal with a student.

That’s all good stuff. Certainly those are the things that had a lasting impact, right?

Not the message. Not the events.

Definitely not the meetings.

It wasn’t even the training or the one-on-one time I spent with a student.

I didn’t do anything last week that mattered more to my students than the time I took to write them personal notes.

At the beginning of every week, I try to make time to sit down and write letters and postcards to handfuls of students. My goal is to write at least 10 a week.

Sometimes it’s for the leaders who really stepped up…

…and sometimes it’s for those who just need to be lifted up.

I send congratulations to students who just got accepted into college or who just made the soccer team, and I send encouragement to those who were rejected and cut.

Last week I scribbled out quick sentences on the backs of pre-printed postcards and I sat down with notebook paper to write letters that went into envelopes.

And just like it happens pretty much every week, I heard back from their parents.

Students were touched, encouraged, thrilled and even moved to tears to receive a piece of written correspondence from me to them.

I don’t have a deep psychological understanding or cross-applicable economic principle that will rock the way you do ministry.

But virtually every single week, I hear more stories about the things I write to students than the things I speak, and I think it’s an idea that should be shared.

I still take the time to regularly hand-write notes not because I’m old-fashioned or technologically-challenged…

…but because it still works better than pretty much anything else I do.

I’ve got a challenge for you.

Take the time to write just five notes to students this week.

Share a comment if you’re in. I want to hear if this works for you too.  

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Aaron Helman
Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes at Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations – things like leading volunteers, managing money, and communicating effectively. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.