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This Ain’t Your Daddy’s Student Ministry

May 10, 2010

     What a great time it is to be involved in student ministry. Over the last several years, God has been stirring my heart and I have felt like there must be more to student ministry than what we were doing. For far too long, student ministry has consisted of planning activities and camps, having 5th quarters and eating school lunches, putting on spectacular Wednesday night services and hoping that small group leaders were doing what they were expected to do. I have felt like there must be more to what God had called me to. I have a passion for penetrating the home with the Gospel of Christ. I was even a victim of lying to parents and telling them that I wanted to help them disciple their child, and in doing so I would have activities planned at the church almost every night.

     My thoughts began to change when I had my first child. I began to see that my number one priority was to disciple my own little girl. I felt that if I were truly doing that, then maybe I would be an example to other parents and they would disciple their children. But then as she got older and my second daughter was born, I realized how difficult it was to disciple without support, and how little support there was out there. I realized that I was falling into the trap of trying to “programize” discipleship with my girls, I’m a student pastor, programming is what we do best! But it is not the most effective method! (Thank you “Simple Church!”)
     About four years ago I went to a student pastors conference that was hosted by my mentor, Larry Lawrence at FBC Jonesboro, Ga. In this conference Steve Wright talked about his new book, “Rethink.” As he talked everything began to fall into place for me. There was one fact that Steve said that shook the framework that I had built my ministry. I am not sure why it had never occurred to me. The average Christian Student who is highly engaged in student ministry will spend on average 3-4 hours a week doing “ministry related activities.” That leaves approximately 53 awake hours a week to spend with family. There is no way we, as student pastors, can effectively disciple students when we just see them 7% of the week. So since that conference I have been on mission to figure out from Scripture how I can minister to students the way that God has called me to.
   This brings me to my excitement. Family ministry seems to be catching on throughout the student ministry circles. I have read more books, blogs, and articles about how we can teach and resource parents to disciple their children. Most importantly, as I have began a new ministry, I have had parents asking for help on how to disciple their own children! It seems as if daily someone has new has ideas on how to reach the families of students.
     The future of Student Ministry is bright! The days ahead are exciting! I honestly look forward to seeing what student ministry will look like in 5 years! Good news! This ain’t your daddy’s youth ministry! It is so much better!
5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:13 pm

    Love the post. Sadly some churches do not buy into this and when you try it does not work out. Some pastors out there not all want more of a babysitter of youth then one who helps with families. It is kind of sad.

  2. Brian's Thoughts permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:19 pm

    I agree! And have been where you are! I would encourage you to do what you can in your ministry though! The senior pastor does not have to be on board immediately (but it does help) once he sees change happening in the lives of the families in your group, then he will be more open to talk about it.

    Stick it out though! I know it can be discouraging, but it is worth it in the end of have a Duet. 6 based ministry.

  3. John Lovell permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:27 pm

    Great post man. That first paragraph is where it’s at! I think, as we’re seeing student pastors spend more than a few years in it, just to bail ship, we’re becoming more aware of these changes. The family needs ministered to as well. I spend a portion of my week doing ministry that goes to parents/families only. Simple Church, and the entire “Simple” series for that matter, has completely changed the way I look at our activities. We’re moving our Sunday night programming to Sunday morning, since we realized the amount of time we were asking from students, parents, volunteers, etc. The goal used to be to keep kids busy enough with church, that they’d feel bad if they did anything else. But it doesn’t work anymore (if it ever did!). Thanks for the honesty man. I look forward to seeing how you guys continue to live this out in your ministry!

  4. Mike Smith permalink
    May 10, 2010 6:26 pm

    I love the post Brian, and I share your passion! I understand your coming from a Student Ministry perspective; however, it needs to begin so much sooner. We need to use Preschool/Children minsitry as a time to train and support parents on their Spiritual obligation. It’s time we strengthen the family!

  5. Christine permalink
    May 11, 2010 2:41 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! This is something that has been weighing on my heart recently. I would love to talk to you sometime about ways that I could maybe help you and the youth.

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