The 2 Contact work ideas below were shared by by Zack Miller, intern with Young Life Expeditions, in Nazareth, Israel and by Delaney Kochan, a volunteer leader in the Tri-lakes Area in Colorado.
By Zack Miller
Contact work can be a challenge over in this part of the world as well as anywhere. To do Young Life with different cultures and belief systems has not come without obstacles. One of the difficulties is the students have varying class schedules throughout the week so contact work at the school is a challenge. Furthermore, there are not really any clubs or athletic teams associated through the school, so the ease of going to a football, basketball or soccer game is also not possible. However, that has not stopped our team over here in the town where Jesus was born!
One of the ways we get an extra hour of contact work is some free time before club. We are lucky enough to have a house to host club where there is a big basement with a pool table and ping pong table. All the leaders commit to coming very early to club (to plan as usual, but then also be there for free time for the kids to just hang).
We set up the main games such as pool, ping pong, and have a basketball hoop outside. We've set up a table with cards and use pennies as "chips" to have some poker type fun. This time is great because we can hang with the high schoolers before club starts and continue to build friendships. Furthermore, the kids sometimes end up playing games with someone they don't really know and it ends up being a mixer before the mixer. Yes, coming extra early to club makes for a long night, but it's all about adapting and being creative in the ways we do contact work.
By Delaney Kochan
Any leader will tell you there were days she sat in her car in the parking lot and prayed as students flooded out at the end of the day because it took all of her courage to just show up. And God is always good and honors such heartfelt prayers! But at some point, actually interacting with students becomes an essential part of ministry.
The high school is about ten minutes walking distance from where I live. I prefer to train running trails, but I have jogged by it a number of times, too. One day I was getting ready to leave for the school, dressed in work out clothes so I could hit the trails after. My Labrador, and faithful running partner, recognized my outfit and began howling with excitement. I told her, “No, you can’t come with me to the school,” but the whining continued. However, after I said "No," I realized a happy, tail wagging puppy is the perfect way to draw the attention of high school girls! I didn’t even need to go into the school! I just had to hang out in the parking lot with my lovable furry friend and wave at any kid who looked in our direction. “Yes, she’s friendly!” “Of course you can pet her!” The dog would do the introductions for me.
There are a lot of days I am unavailable during carpool and I end up at a game or a play on my own later in the evening. But the days I show up with the dog, we most definitely get a few smiles and make some new friends. Having a four-legged friend by my side makes me feel less insecure about stalking the doors of the high school, even if I’m stalking for the Kingdom. The days of showing up with nothing but God’s faithfulness and my willingness are never done, but the adorable appeal of a happy dog has been a welcome addition to my contact work routine!