It is important to always have a philosophy of what you are doing in student ministry. If you want to have an effective, organized, and healthy student ministry, you need a clear-cut philosophy that you understand and is easy to explain to others. A philosophy of student ministry will help you stay on target and will help you explain to others exactly what your ministry is all about. I believe your philosophy needs to be simple, clear, and Biblical. Here is my simple 3 part philosophy of student ministry:
As you can see I break my philosophy down into three simple parts: Biblical teaching, training leaders, and equipping parents. Biblical teaching involves what you do with your students. As a student pastor, your prime responsibility is to teach students the Word of God. Your games, activities, music, and events will not transform students, only the Word of God will truly transform them. That is why Biblical teaching needs to be the center and focus of your student ministry. Training leaders involves what you do with your leadership team. If you want to have a student ministry that is growing and will outlast you, you must build a leadership team. You do this by training them, meeting with them on a regular basis, and equipping them to do ministry (click here to see a post about how leaders play an important role in small groups). Equipping parents involves what you do with the parents. A student pastor is not called to take the place of the parent, but to partner with them as they point their children to Christ. We must allow the parents to be the prime disciplers of their children. As student pastors, we help them do that. We must meet with them regularly, build relationships with them, and equip them with resources.
I believe if a student pastor incorporates these three things in his philosophy, they will have a very effective student ministry. These three things are what every student pastor must do! So how does this look in a typical month? How do we incorporate these three important things into a typical month in our student ministry. Here is how I would do this:
Weekly student gathering. Whether you meet o Sunday nights or Wednesday nights, always have a large group gathering with your students where you worship and teach God’s Word. This can also be the “front door” to your ministry. A night where the energy is high, the music is loud, and the teaching is relevant. This is a night were unchurched students can come and get plugged in to your church and ministry.
Monthly leaders meeting. After you build a leadership team, you need to meet with them regularly. Use this meeting for two things: planning and training. Go over the month ahead and allow the leaders to help you plan what will happen. Also, use this time to train them on how to be better leaders and better at working with students.
Monthly or bimonthly parent meeting. You have to keep your parents informed and involved. Meet with them every month or every few months to get them informed on what is going on in your ministry. Also, use this meeting to share with them resources that will help them disciple their children.
My philosophy is not the “perfect philosophy” but I believe it involves the three most important things every student pastor must be doing. I hope every student pastor nails down his own philosophy and if not this post helps you create one. This post is very familiar to the post I posted a few days ago called: 3 Things Every Student Pastor MUST Do. Take a few minutes to check it out and get more details on the 3 parts of my philosophy. My friend Josh Evans, student pastor at Union Grove Baptist in Winston-Salem, NC, wrote a blog about this very same idea of student ministry (Click here to view that blog post).