I would love to preface this blog with the obvious statement: God’s grace through Christ Jesus is the only reason that any church or ministry would see growth. Christ is The Cause. The heart behind this post is to humbly offer some suggestions in applying God’s grace as you build and lead your student ministry.
1) Our Student Vision is the Same As Our Church’s Vision.
One of the most powerful mindsets that has served me in directing our student ministry at NewSpring is understanding that I am not primary in setting the course. God, who created and works in authority, is setting the course through my senior pastor. That is to say, Perry Noble is the primary student pastor of NewSpring church. I have just been asked and empowered to steward his responsibility. The vision that God has given him, “NewSpring Church is a church where change takes place.” is also the vision for our students. My responsibility is to steward that vision as it is cast and applied in the lives of students in our house. THIS CANNOT BE OVERLOOKED. Too often division in churches happen because this gets ignored. I strongly urge student pastors to do an ongoing inventory of the vision and direction of your student ministry. If there is any disparity between your youth ministry and your church as a whole it is your responsibility to course correct. I promise fruit and favor will follow your submission to your senior leadership’s vision.
2) Listen to the Lord, do what He says.
That is to say, Revelation > Imitation. God’s work is unique. He has uniquely made each of us. He has uniquely made each of our communities. He has uniquely made our churches. As I have read through His Word I see this pattern of uniqueness everywhere. Every Bible hero that comes to mind (Abraham, Noah, Esther, Nehemiah, Gideon, Samuel, Elijah, John, Peter, etc) was used in a unique way. This is NOT coincidental. It is a pointer. Certainly the Lord has a general calling on us all, “Go…Make…Baptize…Teach”, but I believe He has very specific and unique ways that He will work out this general calling in each of our churches. This principle has breathed confidence into me. It is okay to not do church the same way as everyone else. It is okay to have certain non-essentials in an open hand. Practically, as our student ministry has grown and evolved, we don’t have to lead from a posture of fear. Instead we have navigated by simply posturing our hearts to hear from the Lord, and then doing whatever He has led us to do. This is how we have decided many major questions (i.e. what night should we have our program? Should we have high school and middle school together or separate? Whom should we hire for this position?) Humbly, I would encourage you and your team to ask God about your next major decision. Stop simply imitating what you’ve seen others trying. Start doing what God has uniquely called you to do.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of “4 Causes of Growth In Our Student Ministry”.