We are relational beings. We see this in Genesis 2:18 when God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We have always been creatures who crave and thrive on relationships. Even in our culture today, we still place relationships as a high priority. This is why relationships are huge in student ministry as well as any other ministry in the church. A student pastor will be foolish to forsake relationships for any other area of ministry. Often times we allow the busyness and work of ministry to keep us from building relationships with those we are in ministry to and with. The more I grow and learn as a leader, I am seeing that there are five major relationships a student pastor MUST work to maintain and grow:
1. His relationship with God. The first relationship a student pastor must maintain and grow is his personal relationship with God. A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post called “The Most Important Part of Student Ministry” that talks about this topic. In that post I said, “I believe, with all my heart, that the most important part of student ministry is the student pastor’s relationship with God.” One of the biggest struggles a student pastor will face is maintaining his relationship with God, but it’s a relationship we must keep number one.
2. His relationship with his family. The second relationship a student pastor must maintain and grow is his relationship with his wife and children. No where in the Bible will you find where God says to put ministry before your family. So many student pastors sacrifice their families on the altar of ministry. Student pastors are called to be pastors at home before the church. I remember watching a Mark Driscoll leadership coaching video awhile back where he talked about famous preachers in the past who neglected their families and where “famous” in the church, but no so famous at home. I would rather be famous at home before I am famous in ministry.
3. His relationship with his leaders. Now we are getting to the student ministry relationships. I purposely put a student pastors relationship with God and family before any ministry relationships because that is the way it should be! Another important relationship a student pastor must maintain and grow is his relationship with his volunteer leaders. A student ministry will not grow and be effective without a group of Godly volunteer leaders to serve alongside the student pastor. Student pastors need to pour into their leaders relationally as much as they can. This will encourage and motivate them as they serve in your ministry. I recently wrote a post about mentoring your leaders that would be worth checking out on this topic (click here to view that post).
4. His relationship with the parents. Being a student pastor is more than just hanging out with teenagers. A student pastor is someone who should come alongside the parents to support, encourage, and equip them as they disciple their children. A student pastor must serve the parents as well as the students. That is why one of the key relationships a student pastor must maintain and grow is his relationship with the parents.
5. His relationship with his students. And then comes the relationship many student pastors put first, which is not a good idea, is his relationship with his students. Building relationships with students if huge! It’s one of the most important parts of being a student pastor. It’s easy as a student pastor to miss this because we are so focused on teaching and building an effective student ministry. Those things are important, but teaching and having an awesome ministry will just allow you to speak at the students. Building a relationship with them will allow you to speak into the students. Students pastors must maintain and grow relationships with their students so their teaching and ministry will truly reach into the hearts of the students.
There may be a few more you could add to this list, but these are the relationships I believe are the most important for students pastors to maintain and grow. Chris Wesley has written a series of blogs on this very same subject. Much of what I have said in this post can be found in his blogs. His blog series on relationships is defiantly something worth checking out (click here to view that blog series).