I have been thinking about writing a post on this topic for a long time now because I believe it’s an important subject. Every time I think about this topic, Bill Withers classic song “Lean on Me” comes to mind. It’s true that as student pastors, we need other student parents to lean on at times. I’m amazed at how many student pastors sit in their office day in and day out and never interact or network with other students pastors.
But why? Why do students pastors need to really worry about having other student pastors around them? There are countless reasons, but here are a few that I believe are most important.
1. Encouragement. Student ministry can be tough. Working with middle and high school students that at times don’t seem to get it, or even care for that matter, can be exhausting and discouraging. This is one reason student pastors need each other, for mutual encouragement. I am part of a few student pastor groups on Facebook and it’s cool to see how someone will post something about what they are going through in ministry and they will get slammed with encouragement from other guys in the trenches of student ministry with them.
2. Fresh ideas. Let’s face it, we will eventually run out of ideas. There will be times when your creative juices are out and your all out of ideas for a game, illustration, or an event. These are great times to talk to other student pastors and see what they are doing. Don’t steal their next event or sermon illustration, but get your creative juices flowing as you see what they are doing.
3. Friendship. Some of my best friends are student pastors. It’s great to get together with other student pastors and just build friendships. Leave the student ministry talk at the door and just hangout together. It’s in the context of friendship that a lot of these other things happen.
4. Accountability. This is not an easy one, but one reason student pastors need other student pastors is to keep them accountable for what they are doing in their ministry. It’s easy to get off track in student ministry and start to focus on things that don’t really matter. For example, you can focus on the next game instead of the next sermon series. You can spend countless hours on putting together a sweet PowerPoint, but not enough time on the content of the message. Have some student pastors around you that can keep you on track and keep your eyes on the important stuff in student ministry.
5. Accomplish more for the Kingdom. We can reach more students for Jesus if we work together. If we try to do it alone we may reach and teach numerous students, but we will never reach the level we could if we lock arms and do it together. Do some events together with your ministries. Do anything, but do it together! Don’t set your ministry aside as the “only ministry in town.” Reach students in your community while partnering with the other student pastors that are striving to do the same thing.
These are just a few of the many reasons student pastors need other student pastors. I would encourage you to seek out a network of student pastors in your area and connect with them consistently. A great place to start is the National Network of Youth Ministries. Also, here are three Facebook groups for student pastors that you may find helpful: Youth Pastors Only, YouthPastor.com, and YouthMin.org.