Confession, I’m guilty of reading Popular Mechanics magazine. I love to find articles on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects around the house. Whether its staining the wood trim around our windows or changing the oil on my motorcycle, I find it fascinating to learn and do things on my own.
While time alone and DIY projects are life giving to me…I know that doing student ministry alone is not! I hope you would agree with me that student ministry was not created for the student pastor. The student ministry is not a DIY project for one to carry all alone.
Student ministry is not about you! It is not about what you accomplish, it is not about the best message you ever gave, and it is certainly not about the youth space or branding that you have created for students. At the end of your term as student pastor, you will eventually be forgotten and replaced. That might seem a little harsh, but its the truth. Remembering that student ministry is not about you, and keeping that in front of you, will only benefit your ministry and expand its reach. Only when you have this mindset are you able to truly empower your volunteers and students do some ministry of their own.
You may be thinking, “If I want things done right, then I need to do it myself.” Get over it. When you empower others to do ministry you relinquish your rights to be the “do-er” but you don’t relinquish your rights to be the visionary. Practice painting the picture for people, and let them do it! It won’t be done the way you would do it, but more is being accomplished overall through others than if you run a DIY SM. Many times I have found that when I empower someone else…whether it be a mom, dad, student, or fellow staff member…they do a far better job than what I could have done myself! The best memories in student ministry are made when many hands work together, making the job light, everyone is participating by putting their best foot forward in an area that needs attention. Healthy teamwork within your ministry is necessary in moving things forward.
Here is a list of to-do’s that many student pastors (including myself) are guilty of when it comes down to a DIY SM:
- Readying the room. Setting out chairs, turning on lights, music, etc.
- Finding or creating a game and leading it.
- Stage design…hours can be spent doing this.
- Creating and maintaining a visitor followup process.
- Social media interaction – FB, Twitter, Instagram. Following & liking student posts.
- Trip/Retreat research. Lodging, meals, travel.
- Helping create or maintain a student band.
- Supply run. Need I say more?
- Liaisons between your church and local schools.
- Project planning and recruiting for the BIG event.
…and the list could go on and on. As the student pastor you can’t do it all on your own. Empower your people!
After writing this article I feel compelled to write out a few thoughts on each item listed above. Stay tuned.
Question for you: What has been your biggest mistake or learning point in a DIY project? Whether in ministry or personally?