Stop Letting the Shy Kids Disappear

Youth Ministry is a place where those with outgoing personalities thrive. This is not a bad thing. But it is important to realize that youth ministry is meant to be a ministry for all youth, not just those who make themselves known. As YMs it’s our job to help all of our teens feel like youth ministry is a safe place where all can explore their faith. 

As YMs it’s our job to help all of our teens feel like youth ministry is a safe place where all can explore their faith. Click To Tweet

Get to know each of your teens

Whether you have a team of volunteers or a peer team, make sure that each teen is engaged in conversation during your down time. This may call for personally engaging that shy teen or helping him or her to get to know others in the group. Check out this post for more tips on how to engage shy teens. 

Schedule Quiet Time

One way that shy teens can get lost in the crowd is if there is too much activity. Having an event where you hop from one crazy activity to the next can be a good thing from time to time, but you can easily forget about some teens this way. I have a professor who has reminded us that we need to engage all learning styles, even in ministry. He encouraged us to write “VATK” on the top of any plan to remind ourselves that we need to engage all four of these types of students. Visual, Auditory, Tactile, and Kinesthetic– how are you doing this during your event? This may include a bit more prep on your end by making a journal or prepping a reflective prayer service, but it will help to keep all engaged. 

Make them Leaders

When the time is right, call your teens into roles of leadership. It’s important to acknowledge that not all leaders need to be super outgoing. Some of the greatest leaders are a bit more reserved. We all have God-given gifts that we are called to use. Help your shy teens to understand that God wants to use them for his glory just as much as the next guy. Help them to use their specific gifts to serve your parish and ministry. 

Just because a teen is shy doesn’t mean that he or she isn’t interested or doesn’t want to be there. Sometimes, they just need a different kind of love and a little extra planning. Youth Ministry is meant to be a space where any teen can explore his or her faith – even the shy kids. 

Mary Mullan

Mary is a youth minister on Long Island, a former missionary with the Capuchin Franciscans, a graduate student at Fordham, and a soon to be wife to her college sweetheart. Mary's love for youth ministry began way back when at her confirmation, and has journeyed as a participant, weekly volunteer, missionary, and now as a now parish youth minister. Follow along with her @marybridget_

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