Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: The Secret Sauce of Small Churches

STUDENT MINISTRY: The Secret Sauce of Small Churches

      I have often wondered who is reading these articles. Is it the youth worker looking for answers, or is it the average church member who is simply concerned about the young people of their church? Either way, we know there is a great need to reach the next generation for Jesus Christ. I try to keep both audiences in mind.

      One of the issues that we — both youth workers and church members — face is that can feel that we come short in areas of our ministry because of the large churches all around us. Those churches have more activities, more staff and simply more stuff. The truth is there are more small churches than large ones in our country. That shouldn’t make us sad. There are some amazing things that can happen in the smaller churches of our association in the area of student ministry. Here are a few examples:

         • Students can have an opportunity to serve. One of the greatest parts of being at Springdale Baptist Church when I was a teenager was the opportunities they gave me to serve. My parents weren’t a part of the church. In fact, they weren’t attending anywhere at the time. Yet, this church gave me opportunities to be up in front of a congregation to share a devotional, sing and even lead worship before I headed to Central Baptist College. They took a chance on me, and God blessed me over the years because of it. Students can often step into service roles easier in a smaller congregation.

         • Students can receive more focused teaching. If you have a teacher or leader who loves their students, a smaller gathering of students means greater application of the Word on a personal level. Amy Parton serves as the teacher in our Girls Youth Class at Calvary Baptist Church in Fayetteville, where I now serve. These girls are learning in a deeper way because of the attention Amy can give them. There are only four to six students in this class each week.

         • Students can understand that they are loved. I am not quite at the age of being a granddad, but I am getting close. With this white beard that I am sporting, most people are sure that I have already crossed the line. Now, I often hear how incredible it is to have grandkids. What if our church members simply loved the children and students of our congregations like they loved their own grandchildren? Imagine how loved they would feel. They would see their great value and understand that they are not alone. Too often, we try to divide and conquer the generations in our congregations. God calls us to embrace our students and help them see their great worth to the church and God our Father.

      What is the secret sauce for small churches? It is really one word — relationship. A student can serve if they have a coach/mentor helping them step into that role. Our students will only learn more if that teacher cares enough to study and communicate in an effective way. And our students will only know they are loved if we take time to move beyond pleasantries and step into relationship with them.

      I’m not sure where I would be in my faith journey if it were not for the people of Springdale Baptist Church that included Pastor Danny Gordon, John and Linda Allen and Rick and Jody Preece. Will you be that type of person for the students in your church? Will you simply love them like they are one of your own? Remember, as members of the same faith family, they are one of your own.