This year marks 10 years of me contributing to vocational youth ministry and living out that calling…(starting to feel old-er) and I know many of you have contributed that and much more. I’m so thankful for your service to the next generation.
For the fun of it, and perhaps helpful, I asked myself the question, “What are 10 things you have learned in working with students over the past 10 years?” While I didn’t put a lot of time into this, these are some of the first things that came to mind.
- Students always want to have fun.
- Students want to be invited into serious conversations about life and faith.
- Students need a Christ-following role model in addition to mom and dad to influence and reinforce what is learned at home and church.
- Small groups are better than large groups, but large groups are still necessary.
- Getting a student to serve somewhere in the church increases their chances of staying connected to the church after graduation.
- Milestones such as short-term mission trips and camps/retreats provide major pivot points for a student’s faith journey.
- Becoming a youth pastor to those that actually pastor the youth (small group leaders) can be your greatest asset. I love students, but I LOVE people who love students.
- Networking with other youth pastors and youth leaders can only help your current situation.
- Communication and strategy of communication can never be over thought. We live in a fast paced, media hungry world. You need to know what to say and how to say it, both in your messages and in social media.
- Students “hang out” more via social media than ever before. The art of connecting in a personal conversations is being lost…we need to be aware of this and press into what this means for how we do youth ministry.
Many of these if not all of them are probably not new for you but I’d challenge you to evaluate how this is going at your church.
In my next post I’ll share with you about two big life events that made this year a big one and why the blog has been quiet.