For a church’s student ministry to succeed, it cannot be isolated from the overall strategy of the church. Your students need certain things at this critical stage, and your ministry values can help accomplish them.
The goal of student ministry should be to align with one’s churchwide strategy and assist parents with making teenage disciples who take personal responsibility for Kingdom activity. While utilizing many components of the churchwide plan, a ministry should also focus on the needed areas of development for this age and show extra attention to the specific distractions that can take them away from Christ.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.1 Timothy 4:12
We want to engage these students during these pivotal years to equip them for meaningful ministry now. Instead of expecting less from them, we desire to call them to higher standards so that they can set the pace for others in our congregation. If done well, the students can inspire the adults by their intensity and the kids by their maturity in what they say, what they do, how they love, and how they focus.
We prioritize building relationships but know we cannot encourage those if students aren’t here. That’s why we must intentionally connect with families and encourage students to invite their friends.
Student Ministry Values
- Engaging – Not Entertaining – Student ministry doesn’t aim to amuse these students, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have intentional fun. We know that to teach these students, we have to reach them. That’s why we want to create deliberately lively environments and opportunities with engaging volunteers and intentional student leaders to frame a place where all students feel welcome to connect.
- Invitation – Not Isolation – We do not want to create a silo-based student ministry disconnected from the rest of the church. Not only do we create environments where those younger and older are welcome to engage with this ministry, but we also create opportunities to do life together. We invite leaders of all ages to mentor students and encourage students to be a part of the larger community of the church.
- Strategic – Not Sporadic – Since we are aware of the unique challenges of this age demographic, we must be intentional about what we do and how we do it. That includes the series we develop, the activities we plan, and the environments we create. It is pointless to produce solid content that doesn’t connect. We must orient our efforts around meeting the students at their place of origin while providing a clear path to the hopeful destination.