One night as I was leaving for Switch, I told my husband, “I don’t want to go.” Then, he asked the all-important question, “Why?” It took me a minute to figure it out because things had started off strong when I first became a leader. My group was in middle school then, but when high school came, my girls had slowly stopped showing interest in Switch—and that made me feel the same way.
Teenagers can lose interest quickly. That’s a fact. But I knew I was called to stick it out and stay in their lives. I am always telling my girls that their emotions don’t have brains, and I needed to follow that advice myself. So, I kept showing up. And I kept reaching out. I even made an extra effort to try to contact each of my girls individually that week. And just when I was beginning to get discouraged again, three inspiring things happened.
First, I got a text from one of my girls telling me about how she was struggling to connect with God, and she asked if I would pray for her. I did, and I found a YouVersion Bible Plan for her to start. Next, one of my girls invited me to watch another one of my girls’ soccer games who had the chance to play varsity for the first time. I showed up thinking I’d be sitting with the parents, but when I went to greet the girls, they asked if I would sit with them—yes, in the middle of the high school section with all their friends. I felt old but cool at the same time! Lastly, two of my girls asked me to baptize them at the upcoming Baptism Weekend. Talk about a bucket list, amazing moment!
Being a Switch leader can be a roller coaster. But I promise that if you stick it out and go the distance, it will be worth it. So, here are my tips for how you can reach out to your Switch students throughout the week—and trust me, it’s easier than you think.
When to reach out:
- Life gets busy, and it’s hard to remember to reach out sometimes! That’s why a phone reminder is a life saver. In a Google calendar you can set goals, and it will randomly remind you about it throughout the week. I have a goal of reaching out to my girls one to three times a week. When my Switch reminder goes off, I try to reach out right then.
- Download the free Echo Prayer app. This app reminds you to pray specifically for your Switch students. So, if one of my girls tells me on Wednesday that she is nervous about a math test on Friday at 9:30, I will have a reminder set to go off at 9:15 on Friday so I can pray for her and send her a text to let her know I’m praying for her right then.
How to reach out:
- Text them. Start a group text with your group so they can check in with one another throughout the week. Consider sending them short messages like:
- How can I pray for you?
- Follow up with their prayer requests from your small group time last week. For example, “How’s your grandma doing?”
- Send them a verse image from the YouVersion Bible App.
- It’s always helpful to send them a funny or inspiring quote, meme, or gif. They get great responses!
Where to get ideas from:
- Pinterest is your friend. I have a Pinterest board just for Switch. When I see something I think the girls would like, I save it to that board. Now, when my phone alarm goes off to reach out to the girls, I have a stack of things to send them. That way, it’s easier to stay connected throughout the week!
- Do Bible Plans together! Plans with Friends is a great way to stay spiritually engaged with your students. Two really great ones for female groups are Live Fearless with Sadie Robertson and Without Rival with Lisa Bevere. The Switch plans are also great to do with your students because they expand on what we’ve learned at Switch.
- Show up at their events. They’ll know you care when you show up for them at the things that matter. Try to attend their recitals, concerts, games, etc. It means more than you know.
I’m so glad I didn’t quit Switch when I felt discouraged. And you don’t have to feel that way either! Keep reaching out, even if you hear nothing back. One day, you just might get that text that could change everything, just like I did.