One of the most important things a student pastor can do is build a team of Godly adults to serve as leaders in the student ministry. A student ministry will not be healthy if the student pastor does it all. He needs a team of volunteer leaders who will serve along side of him. I have harped on this time and time again here on my blog, but I believe it’s vitally important for student pastors to get. You need to be spending time developing a team of leaders around you. It will grow your ministry and help you reach students more effectively. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” Your student ministry needs more leadership than you, it’s needs a team.
But what do you do once you have a great group of leaders? You may already have that team around you, but that is only the beginning. Here are three things I believe students pastors MUST do with their team of leaders:
1. Build. Even though you may already have a team of leaders, don’t stop building that team. I’m talking about building it numerically here. As the leader of that team, always being praying and looking for more potential leaders. Many times we wait until our student ministry grows to a certain number before we add more leaders to our team, but this is not a good approach. Build your team larger than it needs to be right now. Be ahead of the growth. It’s never a bad thing to have too many leaders. As your ministry grows, your leadership needs to grow with it, but stay ahead of the growth.
2. Equip. I use the word “equip” rather than “train” because it captures more of what I’m going for. Equipping involves training, but training is only the starting point. Student pastors need to train their leaders. Most of the time your leaders didn’t go to Bible college or seminary to be a student pastor so they didn’t receive the training you received. So transfer that training on to them. Have training weekends and retreat where you train your leaders to serve students better. But don’t stop at training. Equipping also involves plugging them into ministry opportunities with students, What good is it if you just trained them? Train them and then send them out! This is what will grow your ministry numerically and spiritually. Delegating ministry opportunities to the leaders you have trained. Ephesians 4:12 says, “To equip the saints for the work of ministry.” This is our calling as student pastors. Equip the leaders God has given you to do student ministry.
3. Encourage. Many times student pastors stop at equipping their leaders. But you can’t stop there, you must continue to encourage your leaders. You are getting paid to do student ministry, they are not. Most of them will have full-time jobs and families of their own, then on the side they are serving in your ministry. Many times they are burned out, frustrated, and exhausted, but we don’t stop and realize it. They need our encouragment. Don’t let a week go by where you don’t stop and encourage the leaders serving in your student ministry.
There are many things I could add to this list, but I feel these three things summarize what student pastors need to be doing with their leaders. Leaders are vital for an effective student ministry, but student pastors need to take the time to build, equip, and encourage them. I wrote a post awhile back called “Mentoring Adult Volunteers” that is a great read on this subject of working with your leaders. I encourage you to check that post out.