How Do I Get My Students to Serve Their Communities?

April 20th, 2017

One of the greatest mandates from Jesus to his Church is found in Matthew 28:18-20. It says,

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

However, not only do I believe this is a mandate for every church, but for every ministry in the church, including the youth ministry. As a church, we are supposed to recognize the heavenly and earthly authority of Jesus (worship), “go and make disciples” (evangelism), “baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (fellowship), “teach them” (discipleship), and “to observe all that I have commanded you” (service). And we are to do this as a youth ministry, as well.

Because of this, our youth ministry implements these 5 important elements into our plan as we lay out our calendar each year:

  • Worship
  • Evangelism
  • Fellowship
  • Discipleship
  • Service

It is important to us that we plan each one of these into our ministry calendar. Otherwise, things come up, plans are made and these 5 important things get overlooked.

Missions Monthly

However, I simply want to focus, right now, on how we implement one of these in a creative way into our plans for the year. We call it “Missions Monthly.” Missions Monthly is our way of programming the service into our youth ministry. No, we don’t go on a mission trip every month. Though that would be super fun, it would be expensive and exhausting. Missions Monthly is a different kind of mission. It is an opportunity for students to engage their own communities with the love of Jesus in a practical way. Each month, we set up service opportunities for our students in our surrounding communities. We, then, teach them and encourage them to enter into gospel-centered conversations with the ones they are serving as they are serving.

Missions Monthly provides us 4 main opportunities:

  1. It is an opportunity to promote unity in the Body of Christ by connecting with other ministries for the same cause.
  2. It is an opportunity to serve our local community by planning service projects.
  3. It is an opportunity to get our students into Gospel-advancing conversations by bringing our students into contexts where they will be rubbing shoulders with unbelievers.
  4. It is an opportunity to teach our students and our churches about the value and joy of generosity and serving by making serving fun and by celebrating each student’s service.

What does your ministry to do prioritize student serving? Thinking about implementing a few ideas like this?

Here are some tips to start programming service into your youth ministry:

  • Pray in advance. Pray during. Pray after.
  • Make actual phone calls.
  • Get to know the ministry leaders in your area.
  • Make this a big deal.
  • Inform parents in advance.
  • Provide food (or make sure it is provided).
  • Celebrate the wins from each project.
  • Use these times to teach valuable lessons to your ministry.
  • Look for teaching moments as you are serving.

Frequently drinking specialty coffee or eating Dorito’s Locos tacos, Brant Cole is often mistaken for just another student. With his wife Christine, he has been in youth ministry since 2010. Gifted in relational connections and transformational preaching, Brant finds it to be one of the highest privileges to do ministry with and to students. To him, student ministry is extremely important because students are not just the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. Brant has his M.A. in Pastoral Studies and Congregational Leadership from Moody Theological Seminary, and currently serves as Youth Pastor at WALLOON LAKE COMMUNITY CHURCH in Walloon Lake, Michigan. You can connect with Brant on FACEBOOK and learn more about his church’s youth ministry on FACEBOOK and 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.