Having a conversation with a new student can be like pulling teeth. You get all hyped to greet them to only have them give you the least amount of info about themselves. Getting their name and letting them know you’re glad they came would be a success, anything more is a bonus. I would say the success to a “bonus” filled greeting would be open ended questions, follow-up questions and being intentional. So I want to give you a few steps in this area.
In the early stages of the conversations you really want to ask questions that you can refer back to in the conversation. Examples: family, sports, school, their church history and etc… I do this so that when I hit a dead end I can ask more questions about one of these areas.
Open ended questions are great because you can gauge their level of commitment to the conversation. A closed ended answer to an open ended question lets you know where they are…not interested. If it’s a more elaborate answer you know they are somewhat committed to the conversation.
Examples of Open Ended Questions:
What has been your biggest struggle in high school and why?
Do you have a crazy coach and how do you manage his craziness?
What are you planning on majoring in college and why?
Are you close with your parents and how supportive are they about (fill in the blank)?
What are some struggles you’re having in your walk with Christ?
How long have you been coming to church and what’s got you coming?
What’s the attitude towards Christianity in your family?
Listen with the mindset of asking a follow-up question. The best follow-up question is one that challenges a student to reveal more of them self through the conversation.
So how did you feel about your parents saying that or doing that?
So how has your decision to commit your life to Christ changed you?
Why do feel your life is so stressful right now?
The above are just a few examples to get your mind going. Each encounter will be different so you will have to make them up as you go.
hope it helps