When I first started serving as the lead guy in a student ministry and regularly preaching, I was 20 years old and didn’t have a clue. Here are a couple of things I learned the hard way that may save others some pain.
WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN ABOUT STUDENT MINISTRY
“Adam, what you build it on, you will have to maintain it on. Build it on what matters.”
These simple words simultaneously rattled and refreshed my ministry paradigm. Less than a year into pioneering a student ministry, I had sat down for lunch with a more seasoned student pastor who gave me the best advice I had heard in my short ministry lifetime.
In an effort to be attractive or cool, many student pastors in their early years (like me) can start building their student ministry on the shaky foundation of hype, lights, goofy games, and preaching that is 90% entertainment and 10% Bible. Instead of empowering young people to live as missionaries, these kinds of ministries usually end up entertaining consumers who fade away with the last song of their senior prom night.
What you build it on, you will have to maintain it on. Build it on what matters.
There’s nothing wrong with a sweet setup, epic games, or a few funny jokes. But those things are sauce and seasoning, not the main course. They might attract, but they will never amaze, and they come and go faster than the latest iPhone.
To mobilize this generation, the great and magnificent calling of every youth leader is to amaze their young people with God.
Build into them the values you want them to take into the rest of their life: an identity rooted in the gospel, a hunger for God’s word, a passion to worship and pray, a love for one another, and a heart that burns for God’s mission.
The magnificent calling of every youth leader is to amaze their young people with God.
Our young people need us to show them that the greatest cause to live for, the greatest joy to be known, and the greatest need of their generation is still Jesus. Build your ministry on the only foundation that will last.
This article was originally written for The Resurgence, and can be found by clicking HERE.