Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church

I have no desire to vacation in countries where English is not the main language spoken. Go ahead…let the shaming remarks begin. Trust me, whenever I disclose this I get all kinds of judgmental facial expressions. It is not because I have an under appreciation of the past or close-minded thinking towards foreign cultures (Ok..well, maybe a little bit), but it is more about feeling isolated due to not being able to communicate to others or have others converse with me. Not knowing the language of the people I want to win over leaves me feeling frustrated and misunderstood.

I say all this to relate it to the “language” teenagers “speak” today. Small group leaders want to show their students they care about them by saying while in group, “Hey guys, I want you to know that I care about you and want what is best for you.” But without any effort outside of meeting you might as well have been speaking German.

An easy way to show a student you care about them is to “speak” their language by sending them a text message when you think about him or her throughout the week. Not only does it communicate, “Hey, I am thinking about you.” But it also says, “Hey, I care about you enough to learn your language.”

A friend of mine who is an avid traveler told me natives of foreign countries are much more amiable towards American tourists who at least try to speak their language than those who assume everyone should just speak English. And the same is true for students as well. Although it may take you five minutes to type a twenty-character reply and you have no idea how to insert emojis (or even what they are), a student will hear your message loud and clear, “I care about you.” Throughout the day a student gets hundreds of text messages from their peers, so make an effort throughout the week to make one or two of them from you.

Here are some ideas of simple text messages that communicate you care:

“Hey there! Hope you are having a great day! You are awesome.”
“You are awesome. Know that.”
“I am proud of you.”
“I prayed for you today. See you Wednesday.”
“I just prayed for your prayer request you mentioned last Wednesday. God is working.”
“Here is a great verse I just read: “(Copy and Past the verse from U-version Bible App)