I love to get together with other student pastor’s to discuss student ministry. Some people can discuss sports for hours, and I can discuss student ministry for hours. Okay, I can discuss sports for hours as well. We get together to discuss problems, strategies, ideas, and vision, and what we need to remind ourselves so often is that all of the answers to these questions should reflect our purpose. Your strategy cannot change a person’s life, but if your purpose is right, it can change their life! Now, strategies are important, and we would be foolish to think that they aren’t, but in planning your strategy, make sure that your purpose is at the core of what you do. The purpose is really the “why we do what we do” of student ministry. It is the core of our student ministry. It should be reflected in everything that we do. So, what is our purpose in student ministry?
- To share the Gospel of Jesus– This is the #1 purpose of our student ministry. The Gospel is the “good news” of Jesus. It is that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to come and die for you and I. He demonstrated grace and mercy for us, and through faith in that, we can be saved! Look, your website, facebook page, twitter account, or program will not change a person’s life. The Gospel is the only thing that can transform a person’s life. Now, I am not against those things, because our student ministry has all of them, but keep the main thing the main thing! We try to do events throughout the year specifically designed to reach new students. We also try to incorporate the Gospel into every student service that we have as well so that students can be given a chance to accept the Gospel. The Gospel is the main purpose of our student ministry!
- To disciple students– Many groups have the Gospel down, but forget to disciple the saved! This is where teaching comes into play. It is our responsibility to teach students the Bible, and teach them how to live. By the way, the best way of teaching is to model it yourself. There are many different ways to disciple students. We have found that the best way is through small group ministry. We have small groups each Wednesday evening, and it works for us. It may not for you. We get into their lives. We ask them about their relationship with Jesus, and them living out their faith. We provide resources to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus.
- Partner with parents– This purpose is a purpose that we all discuss and want to do better on, but how can we do that? Well, if you find out how, let me know, because I really want to know. 🙂 Well, actually, we can do better. I am starting meetings more designed for training than information. Normally, my meetings with parents are solely for information, and now, I am working on training the parents about students and their culture. The information needs to be there as well, but do not forget how important it is to train and disciple your parents.
- To train youth leaders– I am learning that I train parents and youth leaders as much as I do the students. My goal and desire is to train the leaders and the parents to be doing what they all want me to be doing in every student!
- To help students develop community in church– God intended for the church to be a community of believers. The early church (Acts 2) broke bread and had fellowship in each other’s house. I desire for our students to build healthy relationships within the church. I am not saying that they cut themselves off from the world, but they should be developing genuine friendships and relationships in the church.