Of all the three levels of Contact Work, most of our training revolves around Levels 1 & 2. We often strategize, coach, train, and encourage leaders to be focused on these two levels. When it comes to level 3 where leaders are doing the most profound impact by having conversations with students we often leave them up to their own personal experience.
As a leader of leaders it is important to make sure that we ensure that volunteers are trained on the art of the conversation as well as having an idea of how leaders can engage students in discussions on spiritual matters.
Understanding the nuances of the relationship and win some of these issues should be approached should be left up to the leaders discretion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But as area trainers we should at least give them some handholds to help them start moving in this direction. I once had a volunteer you have been building a relationship and spending time with a student over three years without having one discussion about God or the Bible during that time. Finally, fed up with this situation he called the student and simply said "we're going to meet and have coffee and we're gonna talk about God." The students reply both encouraged and shocked the leader, he simply said "ok".
Here are a few of the things I have used to help my leaders engaging great conversations with Level 3 Contact Work:
1. Become a Master of asking questions. Beyond finding out information questions like- "What is that like?", "How does that make you feel?", and my favorite "How is that working for you?" -can allow our friends to think deeper than they previously have.
2. Don't be afraid to share how God has personally worked in your own life, but don't try to use God to fix all their problems. Life is messy, and so is following Jesus. Don't try to "win" a kid with some sort of perfect answer to their problems simply listen and share your own experience.
3. Listen and Remember. Make sure you spend time showing them that you listen and remember what you talked about. This can be done by calling them after an important event, remembering their birthday, or by buying them something small that they mentioned they liked. This kind of action shows them that beyond your time with them you have thought about them and care about them.
It is also important to remember things they have said to answer questions you have asked so that you can bring it up again later. By simply saying "last time we talked…" You are showing them they have great value.
Regardless of the tips you share with the practice you give them is crucial to help our leaders who are doing level 3 contact work in some sort of training on how to have conversations how to be good listeners and how to share life with her students.
Submitted by Justin Hayes