As I grow in our student ministry, there are many things that I am learning now that I did not know when I started out. Here are several things that I wish that I had of known when I started out in student ministry:
- It is important to have Parent-Involvement– When I began youth ministry, I had no parent leaders. I had no parents attending events, and very little parent involvement whatsoever. I would have been much more effective and Biblical if I had of had the parents on board from the start. Get parents involved in leadership, events, ideas, etc. Then, spend time building relationships with the parents and equipping them to do their job as a parent.
- It is important to recruit and develop adult leaders– I did most of the ministry early on by myself, but I had people wanting to get more involved, and I did not use them in their full capacity like I should have. The ceiling would have raised even higher if I had of allowed others to lead and take ownership.
- Small groups are essential to effective youth ministry– We did not have small groups when I started, and now, I could not imagine doing youth ministry without them. They build community, but it is the best model and means of discipleship that I have seen.
- Developing student leaders will strengthen your ministry– We had some decent students when I first began in youth ministry, but if I had of given them more of a leadership role, our youth ministry would have been a lot stronger spiritually. We have experienced certain years of not having student leaders, and then years of having student leaders, and the years we have student leaders are always better and stronger.
- Integrating them into the local church is the best way to keep them when they graduate– segregating the youth ministry and the church is not smart AT ALL. We did not segregate, but we did not have our student involved in the church as much as we could have. We should have encouraged choir involvement, ushering, media, etc in the local church more, and we could have kept more students connected to the church when they left high school.
Question: What is something that you know now that you wish you knew when you started in student ministry?