- Grow in our walk with Christ– Sometimes being full-time in ministry is the easiest place to not grow, but every student pastor must grow personally. I am not writing about helping others grow or even studying for your sermon. I am writing about growing in the quiet place where it is just you and God. If you do not have this time every single day, you are doing everyone you lead a disservice.
- Create a welcoming environment– This starts with the student pastor. Look if you want your church to be an open door for lost people, you have to try to get lost people there, but also model for your students and volunteers what it is like to create a welcoming environment. Find guests, and you speak with them, and do not count on everyone else to do it for you.
- Study Adequately for your sermons– I am totally fine with curriculum, but write your own sermons. We use curriculum, but I try to derive my own sermon out of the thoughts that the curriculum gives. Do not just find something online all of the time, print the manuscript, and read it to your students. Find time to pray about what your students need, and then derive a message from God’s Word that will speak into your students’ lives. Your students will see right through someone who gets up and acts like they have studied, but have not.
- Build a personal relationship with students’ parents– This is a must. I believe that there is a shifting of this philosophy as of late, and it is a good one. For years, youth ministry was a babysitting service, and now it is seeking to be a family ministry, and that is how it should be. I try to build relationships with my students’ parents by sitting with them at games, keeping them informed through newsletters and meetings, texting them, and by calling just to ask how their student is doing. This is vital if you want a foundational and long-lasting impact on your students’ lives.
- Praise your volunteers– I have the best volunteers on the planet in our student ministry. They hate it when I praise them, because they try to be humble, but the Bible says “give honor to whom it is due.” Adults who work with students week in and week out deserve honor. Show them appreciation with gifts or words of encouragement regularly. Write some handwritten notes to encourage and thank them for their service.