I have been in full-time youth ministry now for only 6 years. I have tons to learn, but am trying to learn consistently how to be a better leader and a youth pastor. I had the privilege to be a youth intern for 3 years before becoming full-time. I want to share a few things that I have learned in these short years that may be a help to you if you are just starting out in student ministry:
- Be organized– Look, student pastors get ragged for being unorganized, and in many cases, others have every right to rag us, because it is the truth. Do not be an unorganized student pastor. If you do not consider yourself organized, make it happen. Put others around you to help you stay organized.
- Work harder– Another joke among student pastors is that student pastors do not work hard. Work hard! Do not be lazy. Make good use of your time. Come into the office on time, and work hard while you are there.
- Be a learner– Constantly be learning. You have not arrived. Do not think that you know how to do everything the “best” way. Be teachable. Your pastor and other leaders want to teach you. Be a learner, and realize that you can always learn. Read books, blogs, and go to training’s for you to improve. Be able to take constructive criticism well.
- Minister to the whole family– I have started ministering to the whole family now, but did not when I first started in student ministry. Partly because I felt inadequate, because I did not have children, and I was engaged to be married. I felt more comfortable with the teens than their parents. If you want to build a firm foundation starting out, start with your families. Minister to the parents.
- Journal– I wish that I had of started a blog when I started in student ministry, but I did not. Journal your thoughts. It helps you not only record what is happening for your archives, but it teaches and trains you to be more concise and articulate with your words. Start a blog and make it a point to blog at least once a week about your ministry and what you are learning.
- Grow a team– Teams always get more work done than individuals. Make sure that you are growing a team. You should always be working at building a team even if you do not have many teens right now. Leaders can take your students to the next level spiritually and numerically. Surround yourself with game changing leaders.