Lord willing we are about to enter a new year. With this brings fresh starts, plans, and directions. In student ministry it’s a huge task to plan out the most important aspects that you target in your ministry for the year. This is the case because there are many areas that are important to the life of a student ministry. As I was thinking about what should be some main priorities four things came to mind…
1. Spiritual growth. There has to be visible evidence that students, families, and volunteers are growing in their walk with the Lord. Student ministries need to have a healthy balance between fun and growth but we must never sacrifice growth for fun. Jesus’ last earthly command was for His disciples to make disciples of others. May this be true of student ministries all over this nation and “to the ends of the earth.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
2. Ministry to parents. Parents must be informed, involved, and influential in the student ministry. Parents bring a unique perspective to what you do as a student ministry. They are the people who spend the most time with the teenagers that make up student ministries all over the world. The local church must partner with and resource them in raising spiritual champions for Christ.
3. Ministry to leaders. Too many student ministries don’t thrive because they don’t raise and nurture leaders. Leaders are student pastors, parents, volunteers, and especially the students themselves. Teenagers must lead among their peers and have ownership in the student ministry. Developing lead teams is a great way to make this a reality.
4. Engaging culture. I believe the best way to engage the culture is to serve the culture. Allow the culture to see the body of Christ being the hands and feet of Jesus. Too many churches view culture as the enemy. Culture is not the enemy but rather our greatest mission field. There can be great teachable moments for teenagers when we allow them to serve in the world they know best.
As a final reminder: student ministry is relationships. For spiritual growth, ministry to parents, ministry to leaders, and engaging culture to occur there must be relationship. That starts with a passionate, thriving relationship with Jesus. He is our foundation and where we must start and end.