Empowering Students to Minister in Schools
“I really feel like God is going to do something great in our school.”
“Yeah? What do you think that might be?”
“I’m not sure, but I think He might be calling me to do kind of a big event or something. I think the event would be like a worship service on campus.”
“Have you ever heard of Fields of Faith?”
This was a conversation that occurred between a student and myself on the way home from a mission trip. Fields of Faith has turned into an event that is expected by students and staff at the local high school and has grown in attendance and ministry each year. This great ministry began because one student caught the vision and passion for ministry in his school. Here are four practices that will help encourage and empower students to minister in their schools.
Talk about it ALL the time.
A culture shift needs to take place. Your students will have to move from a “come-and-see” mentality to a “go-and-tell” mentality. Yes, your ministry should have components where students can invite their lost friends to come and hear the gospel. At the same time, you must always encourage them that their ministry does not stop with an invitation to church. Talk about their unique mission field. Explain that they can minister to their friends in ways you as their youth minister can’t. Help them understand that they have been called to be ambassadors of the Gospel just like you have. In every application section of your lessons, sermons, and devotionals, talk about their ministry in the schools. Send tweets. Share articles. Write blog posts. Pour into them ideas that show them that they can be ministers of the Gospel in their schools.
Give them the tools they need to succeed.
As you talk about ministry in schools all the time, put some tools in front of them that will help them do that. Life Books are a great resource. They are free and widely available! Students can go through these resources with their lost friends and have God-honoring, Gospel-centered conversations with them. Give them notecards with ideas on how to minister to their teachers or the support staff at the school. Give them a way to share their faith in Jesus with others. As you give your students these tools, you are communicating not only that you expect them to be involved in ministry at their schools, but also you will support them in their Kingdom endeavors.
Visit the schools regularly.
Some youth workers cannot make this happen. Some schools won’t let you in, and some student ministers have to work while their students are in school. However, these issues should not keep you from working diligently to be on school campuses. Your attendance at school functions, lunches, and extra-curricular activities will communicate a strong message that you care about ministry in schools. It is hard to hear a sermon on pride from a prideful man, right? It is hard to hear a lesson on ministry in schools when your actions don’t show that you care about the movement of the Gospel in those schools. Be there and send other volunteers and workers as well to show that your student ministry supports your students as they minister in their schools.
Pray for your students’ mission in their schools.
Nothing empowers students more than the Holy Spirit. You can talk about it, give them tools, and visit them regularly, but if the Spirit is not working in the hearts of your students, nothing will happen. Pray that the Spirit of God would give them boldness. Pray that the Spirit of God would reveal to them opportunities for ministry. Pray that the Spirit of God would work in their peers’ lives and soften their hearts for the Gospel. Empower your students by praying regularly for their mission in their schools.
This list comes from my own wanderings and experiences in youth ministry. We have not come close to fulfilling any of these initiatives completely, but I have begun to see a shift in focus in our student leaders towards their mission in local schools. If you are faithful to empower and equip your students for the ministry of the Gospel in their schools, I am convinced that God will begin a work in those schools, and your community will never be the same.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.