Four Conversations that will Change Your Student Ministry Forever
Have you noticed that almost every student ministry has the exact same schedule?
Sunday mornings are for Sunday school or small groups, Wednesday evenings are for student worship, and the rest of your calendar is a mix of discipleship, service opportunities, events, and retreats.
One of those weekly schedule blocks more than likely sets the tone for your entire student ministry. It’s your midweek worship service.
It’s the main discipleship and evangelism time. It’s an entry point for new students, a time for practical Bible study, a chance to refocus on God, and so much more.
Our midweek gatherings, whether they are on Wednesday nights or some other time, are extremely important to our impact on students.
As student pastors, our goal is to spread the Gospel of Jesus and develop disciples. It is imperative that we ask ourselves one key question:
How well am I doing that during my limited time with students?
We only get so much time with students. One hour a week in Sunday school (if we are teaching), an hour or two midweek during student worship, and whatever events students attend in between.
Your midweek worship service is key to spreading the Gospel and developing disciples. You have to make the most of it.
So how do you make the most of it? I’ve been using a simple (and easily repeatable) process to evaluate my own midweek worship service. There are four conversations I am being very intentional to seek out regularly as I pray through what our midweek service should look and feel like, and what it should include.
(This is not a prescriptive assessment. In other words, these questions may not work for every student ministry, but I am hopeful that the ideas listed here will help you assess any changes your ministry may need.)
4 Conversations That Will Change Your Student Ministry Forever
1) Spend Some Time with God
Spending time with God will give you more clarity, energy, wisdom, and direction than any book, meeting, or conference. While spending time in prayer and study here are some questions to pray through:
- As the spiritual leader for this ministry, how is my relationship with God?
- Is our worship focused on Jesus or something else?
- Would Jesus attend our student ministry?
- What does it look like to develop disciples in our context?
2) Spend Some Time with Your Senior Pastor
Chances are good that your senior pastor has been a student pastor at some point. He probably has some great insights. And while you shouldn’t feel the need to pass every detail by him, having regular conversations with the senior leadership at your church will help you integrate the student ministry with the vision and direction of church as a whole. Some questions you could discuss are:
- What initiatives or campaigns are coming up? How can I rally the student ministry around them and highlight them during midweek service?
- How can we involve more students in the ministries of the church?
- How can we encourage and equip parents to be the primary spiritual leaders for their children?
3) Spend Some Time with Your Team
Your team members are the boots on the ground. Many are parents of the students in your ministry and many have been serving there longer than you have been the youth pastor at your church. Their vantage point is unique and extremely valuable. Here are some questions you should discuss with them:
- How can I encourage you to invest in students throughout this coming year?
- What is one thing I can do to help you make a greater impact?
- How can we provide a more inviting culture where students connect with other students, leaders, and Jesus?
- What gaps do you see with our midweek worship services?
4) Spend Some Time with Your Student Leadership Team
Students will be able to keep you close to culture. Don’t think about that simply in terms of pop culture. Students are the true litmus test when it comes to the spiritual health of your midweek gatherings. Here are some questions to ask:
- How are you growing in your relationship with Jesus during midweek worship?
- Are we connecting you to leaders who are discipling you?
- Do new students feel connected to the church, other students, and Jesus?
- What creative elements should we add into our midweek activities?
Trust me, if you have even one of these conversations, you will see areas that can use change. And if you’re anything like me, you will feel an immediate need to start changing everything all at once. Resist this urge!
You need to develop a system that creates change over a period of time. If an issue comes to light that compromises your ministry’s integrity, address it quickly. But in most cases, the changes you decide to make can be rolled out over the course of a year or two. If you change everything at once, your leaders and students will likely feel ambushed.
Time is your friend, and the Holy Spirit is your guide. If you are having prayerful and intentional conversations about how to best reach students in your community for the sake of the Gospel, you will have some action items to address. Develop a plan and start to roll out some changes in phases. Keep the lines of communication open through prayer and conversation.
And most of all, keep your eyes on Jesus. He’s the author and perfecter of our faith, and He gives wisdom to us when we ask!
I would love to hear from some of you.
What do you do personally to make sure your student ministry is really reaching its full potential?
Chase Snyder is the founder of MINISTRYBUBBLE.COM and serves as a Family Pastor in Knoxville, Tenn. He seeks to live a life that glorifies God and disciples others through their day-to-day lives, and his passion is equipping those in the church to seek those who are outside of it. Check out his writing at MINISTRY BUBBLE or connect with him on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or INSTAGRAM.
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.