By no means do I have the perfect student ministry, nor do I believe it exists. Each and every student pastor that is honest will say, “We have strengths and weaknesses.” I do believe there is a difference between an average operation and one that is really firing on all cylinders. The reason being is because the ministry leaders are working off a blueprint that has been set before them.
Whether you are in student ministry or not, I hope you are working off some kind of blueprint or plan in the project you have ahead of you. A blueprint keeps you on task, the must have factors, measurements, desired outcomes, it’s all there. If you are ever lost, just check the blueprint.
At Gateway Church we have a fairly simple blueprint in place for our student ministry. I believe a ministry designed the way we have it can work fairly well, we just need to stay committed to it and see it come to fruition. Like many other larger student ministries, we are somewhat of a small church plant. We have 3 programs to execute every week, a student band to improve, budgets to run, camps to plan, mission trips, volunteers to recruit, families to partner with… and the list goes on. But what does all of this amount to? How can we physically see it happening year in and out? What are we building?
We are building up a generation of students who will own their faith and make it known to others wherever they go in life. I have faith, that through this blueprint, we are equipping the next generation of both the churched and unchurched in what it means to accept God’s love on a daily basis. Not only identifying that relationship but also accepting the challenge to take it into their world and share it with others.
Here’s my blueprint:
Large Group. The weekly hangout. This involves a somewhat non-threatening environment to bring a friend to play some games, hear some music, listen to some funny stories, hear from the Word of God.
Small Groups. This happens every week directly following large group. Everything we do points back to connecting our students faith to an authentic community of peers around them. Students and adults they can explore doubts, ask questions, be real.
Winter Camp. Camp is full weekend of small group time. Long retreat time into teaching, personal reflection, worship…but also tons of FUN. Camp makes memories for our students, we get to help them make positive memories of their relationship with God and the church. A weekend camp vs. a summer camp allows more student participation (it’s cheaper) and more adult leader participation (don’t have to take off work).
GO! Teams. Our mission trips can be life changing moments for our students. Both those near and far from God come back from GO! Teams with new world views and a better understanding of how God’s love permeates the most unimaginable lifestyles and deepest needs.
All of this may sound familiar, because many churches take this same blueprint or concept and add a few tweaks to make it their own. What does your blueprint look like? What works well for you?