One of the many ways God can use club in the lives of kids is by the relationships they build with leaders. As a leader, you have a unique opportunity to show God’s love to them as a consistent adult in their life who cares about them. In Pioneer Clubs’ informal format, the club leader serves as a guide, mentor, coach, friend and advisor. Here are some practical and meaningful ways you can show kids that you care about them.
- Model Christian behavior and values. Children will more likely follow and develop relationships with leaders who display character and integrity. Display these qualities while interacting in small groups, working on activity awards and spending time together at special events.
- Be sensitive to children’s needs. Recognize that your club members come from a variety of backgrounds and situations. Be sensitive to what the kids say (or imply) about their home life or personal relationships. When appropriate, ask questions that will help you assist kids whose families are struggling.
- Listen to kids with care and respect. Listening to children builds their sense of worth by communicating, “I think you’re important” and “What you say is important to me.”
- Help children feel they belong. Children need to feel that they belong to a group and that their contributions are important. Include them in helping to make decisions. Ask for their help (even if it takes longer for them to do something then it would take you). Welcome them back after a break.
- Create a caring, constructive club discipline plan. If discipline is going to work, club members must feel that you truly care about them. Base your acceptance and approval of children on who they are, created in God’s image, not on their performance. Communicate to the child that you like and accept him or her, but can’t accept inappropriate behavior. When children feel cared about, even discipline situations can help your relationships grow. Enforcing discipline consistently will also create healthy boundaries that will help children feel safe, secure and loved.
- Get involved in kids’ special activities. Try not to miss a club camping outing or bike ride. Get involved painting Pine Car Derby cars or sail boats. If your church holds a Kids for Kids Hike, march alongside the others. And don’t forget the kids’ other interests and activities. When you’re able, show up for their basketball game, school play or birthday celebration (be sure to communicate with their parents first though to make sure it is okay with them!).
- Notice and celebrate their victories. Send a birthday card. Compliment their new haircut. Acknowledge and encourage them when they succeed during an activity, discover a new talent, show kindness to someone, help others, etc.