Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: What We Believe Matters

STUDENT MINISTRY: What We Believe Matters

The work of student ministry is full of doing. We plan mission trips, conference trips and camp trips. We create lock-ins and D-Now Weekends. We set up 5th Quarters and pizza nights. You get the idea. Someone has to plan and implement these activities. However, if we are not careful, that can be all our work is. We can become glorified activity directors for the young people in our church. Student ministry should be about much more than that.

It is important that we take time to know what we believe. Mike McGarry shared in Lead Them to Jesus, “Theology drives methodology. Many have said it, and it’s true. What we believe about God, salvation and the Bible has a very real impact on the way we minister to students.” It is very easy to get caught up in the action of student ministry and not spend time with the driving motivations, and the expectations of pastors and parents rarely push us to explore these areas.

I want to encourage you to take the time with your theology. As you dive deeper into your faith, it will not only shape your methods, it will refine your message. You will be able to clearly articulate your faith to your students, parents and those outside of your faith. Where do we start in this pursuit of understanding? There are a few steps you can take as you begin this journey:

• Pick a topic and dig in. Sometimes, we don’t stop long enough to just think about things. I know I was stuck on the task treadmill for much of my ministry. I was serving as a youth and music minister and was constantly in a state of planning or implementing. There never felt like there was time to sit and dwell on deeper things. Start by looking for answers to just one question.

• Read what the Word has to say on the topic. It is easy to go to the important books and authors on a subject and neglect reading the Bible. We are people of the Book and that should drive our study.

• Look to good books and thought leaders on the topic. After digging into the Word, you will want to listen to podcasts, read books and watch sermons by those who have taken time with the topic. There is a reason they are published on the topic.

• Talk with more seasoned ministers about the topic. Find men and women in our circles that have taken time to think about the specific area. See how they evaluate the topic through the lens of our background and understanding of Scripture.

If this simply whets your appetite for a greater understanding of God’s Word and how it impacts what you do in ministry, you may want to consider another option.

• Consider further formal theological training. Do you have a Bachelor’s degree from a Bible college? Then consider a Master’s. If you have a Master’s, consider digging in deeper and pursuing a doctorate. We need more men and women in student ministry that have taken the time to pursue higher education. Recently, Jonathan Cofer, the high school pastor at Antioch of Conway, earned his doctorate. It allowed him to focus on a topic and dig into it.

It is important that we take time to deepen our understanding of God and His Word. That belief will impact what we teach and how we do ministry. Don’t neglect your study for more activity. As you grow, your students will be blessed by your efforts.