One of the things we need to teach our students, whether you are a student pastor, volunteer, or parent, is how to handle temptation in a Biblical way. The Bible has a lot to say about sin, temptation, and how believers should deal with it. During college I heard a pastor speak from Genesis 39:1-12 and he pointed out three things Joseph did when he was faced with sin. Those three things stuck with me for a long time so I decided to craft my own lesson around those three points found within the text.
I want to share that lesson with you as a freebie in hopes you can use it with your own students. I am sharing the teaching manuscript and PowerPoint presentation (and Keynote for Mac users) so you can download it and edit it to better fit your students. The lesson is called 3 Things To Do When Tempted. To summarize the lesson for you, Joseph did three things when he was faced with temptation: refuse, consider, and flee. These are three things our students can learn to do now as they face temptation. I believe these three simple, practical points will help students, and adults, handle temptation. Feel free to use this lesson any way that you see fit. I hope it helps you and your students better understand how to handle temptation.
With every job comes the demand to learn how to do certain things well. When it comes to being a student pastor there are a few things I believe you must learn to do well. I’m still pretty new to full-time student ministry myself, but I’m learning a ton of stuff along the way. Here are four things I am learning that I believe myself and other student pastors must learn to do well.
Teach well. I believe the most important thing students pastors must be good at is teaching God’s Word. Student pastors can build a program, plan great events, and build great relationships with students, but if they cannot teach the Bible effectively to students they will struggle. I’m not suggesting that they must be able to stand on stage and give the perfect expostional sermon, but they must know how to take the truths of God’s Word and teach them in a way that applies to the current culture of today’s teenagers. Students pastors must learn to teach the Bible well on stage to a large group of students as well as within one on one relationships with students. Student pastors must always be striving to be better teachers of God’s Word.
Work with people well. Ministry is about people and student ministry isn’t any different. Student pastors must learn to work well with all types of people. First, they must work well with the church staff. Nothing is worse than a young student pastor who thinks he knows how to run the church better than the rest of the staff. Student pastors must learn how to work well within the whole church staff. Second, they must work well with parents. Student pastors not only minister and serve students, but their parents as well. Third, they must work well with volunteers. A student ministry cannot be effectively ran by just the student pastor, it takes a team of volunteers. The student pastor must learn how to work well with these volunteers. Learning how to work well with people is very important in student ministry.
Program well. Don’t get me wrong, I know student ministry is much more than building a creative and attractive program, but that program is an important part. Student pastors must learn how to be good programmers. That means programming the mid-week or weekend services well, retreats well, events well, and other things we do in our student ministries. I know some student pastors are all about relationships and that’s great! Relationships are key to effective student ministry, but you cannot sacrifice building an effective program for the sake of only building relationships. Student pastors must learn how to program their student ministry well.
Study teen culture well. I hesitated throwing this last one in, but I believe it’s something student pastors must do well. To be a good missionary you must study the culture your going into. The church doesn’t just send missionaries into foreign mission fields without giving them time to learn the culture. It’s the same with student ministry, student pastors must see themselves as missionaries to students who have their own subculture. Therefore, student pastors must learn to study that culture well. How will a student pastor effective teach Biblical truth if they don’t know the culture they are applying it to? How can they build a relevant program if they don’t know what attracts and connects with teen culture? Student pastors must learn to study teen culture well. Studying teen culture isn’t hard, it just takes time. Click here to see a list of helpful tools I use to learn more about teen culture.
I know there are many things student pastors must learn to do well, but these are the ones I have been thinking a lot about recently. I would love to hear from you on this subject. What do you think are the most important things student pastors must learn to do well? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Making good connections with the students in your ministry is vital. One thing every student in your ministry will have is a birthday. Birthdays are one of the most overlooked connection points with our students. Usually they get drowned out in the busyness of our ministry, but I believe they are a great way to connect and show students for a day that you appreciate them and enjoy having them in your ministry.
Honestly, I’m not the best person to be writing about this. This is an area I am trying to improve and get better at. I want to use birthdays to connect with students and show them I love them. So here are a few things I’m going to start doing in the future that may help you as you try and capitalize on your student’s birthdays.
Use Facebook! Let’s face it, most of your students are on Facebook and your friends with them. Facebook keeps track of your friend’s birthdays and notifies you when it’s their birthday. Keep an eye on this as a way to remember which student’s birthdays are coming up.
Don’t underestimate a card. Don’t overlook birthday cards because you think your students find them lame. A simple birthday card with a hand written note from you will go a long way with students. Buy a box of goofy (keep it appropriate of course!) birthdays cards and send them to students when it’s their birthday. We actually have cards made with our ministry logo. That helps students identify with our ministry and makes them feel like they are super important, because they are!
Stick a volunteer on it. Delegate this area to a volunteer. Have them keep track of birthdays and write cards to students from your ministry when it’s your birthday. I’d suggest having the volunteer keep track of the birthdays, but have you as the student pastor or head leader write the personal note inside. That will mean more to students.
Take them lunch. You may not want to do this for every student in your ministry, but at least the core ones. Either take them their favorite fast food lunch to school or on the weekend take them to a fast food restaurant yourself. This will also give you some great one on one time with them.
Make a big deal in your service. This may not work for larger student ministries, but for smaller ones it works great. Bring the student up during your mid-week or weekend student gathering and make a big deal about their birthday. Embarrass them a bit (all in good fun) and make them feel like they have the spotlight for a minute.
I hope these simple ideas help you capitalize on your student’s birthdays. Again, I’m no expert in this area and trying to do better myself. Feel free to share your ideas and how you have done this in your ministry by leaving a comment below.
This post was originally a guest post I wrote for my friend Justin Knowles. Justin is Pastor of High School Ministry Small Groups at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA. He has a great blog loaded with tons of good student ministry content so check it out!
Are you doing a mission trip with your students this summer? If so, I have a great free resource to share with you from LeaderTreks. One of the most important things a student pastor can do is connect parents to what they are doing in their ministry. This is a helpful tool that helps student pastors connect the parents to what their student is doing before, during, and after the mission trip.
This is what LeaderTreks says about this resource, “In Helping Parents Connect, Doug Franklin outlines how parents can be involved in their students’ mission trips before, during, and after the trip. This tool is designed to get you involved from the beginning and to help you grow with your kids through this experience.”
I am taking our high school students on a mission trip this summer and I have downloaded this ebook in hopes to connect my parents to this trip. I’d encourage you to download it and check it out for yourself. What do you have to loose, it’s free!