The Beauty of Belonging

This is the part II recap of the NCNSM Student Ministries “Leadership Congress” in Fremont, CA that we attended last weekend with our leadership team! District Student Ministries Director “Eddie De La Rosa” brought in Dan Hunter – Lead Pastor of “Living Church” & veteran Youth Pastor of over 20 years as this year’s guest speaker. Dan’s session on “Connecting with Students” was a home-run & very insightful! He started off by breaking down Maslow’s theory of the “Hierarchy of Needs” & relating it to the church & youth ministry… Dan’s quotes are in “parenthesis” below


According to Maslow, our actions are motivated in order achieve certain needs. His hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to other, more advanced needs. For example, people are more concerned with their need to drink water before they are worried about their need to find a job & so forth. The only exception in this theory is that sometimes #3 can slide to the bottom of the pyramid as a persons “Belonging Needs” can become more important to them than “Physiological Needs.” A sad example of this would be when someone commits suicide because they felt like they didn’t “Belong.”

Q So how does this relate to the church, youth ministry & reaching people for Christ?!!!!!

“God is the #1 need in a person’s life, but they may not know it! To reach students for Christ, we must often meet their ‘Belonging Needs’ first!” 

“When the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” Mark 2:16

As we see from this scripture, Jesus would often meet people’s “Belonging Needs” first before helping them see their need of Him (Self Actualisation Needs).

“People need to belong before they believe!” 1397194_1428229894057803_241002227_o


#1 Understand the dynamics! “New students feel lost & insecure! New people can’t connect on their own! You must connect each student to your ministry when they come in! Build your teams around these dynamics!”

#2 Take the initiative! “You are a leader so lead! Go after them, it’s your job! Serve your students!” Set the standard for your leaders!

#3 Remember the info! “Have a conversation with them & remember their name & vital info! Listen & repeat their name back to them! Take your time & don’t let your eyes wander! Small talk makes a big difference!”

#4 Be yourself! Don’t be intimidated! Be secure in who God has made you to be! Have fun! God has called you!

#5 Connect them to others! “A net will catch more fish than a line!” Introduce them to other students their age, gender or those who attend the same school!

#6 Meet up again! “Come back & meet with them before they leave the youth gathering & say their name & tell them you hope to see them again soon!”

#7 Love them unconditionally! “Be a fan of them! Love them for being, not doing!” Give them what they can’t get anywhere else – the love of Jesus!


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