As a teacher, there are certain things I am expected to teach my students. They are expected to know how to add, subtract, and multiply. They should be able to write in complete sentences and they should be able to identify the main idea from a story they have read. In addition, there are behaviors the students are expected to perform. I want them to be able to raise their hands, walk in a line, and treat each other with respect.
As a youth pastor, there are certain things that I want my students to do as well. I want them to have a passionate prayer life. I want them to have a daily quiet time and to love the Word of God. I want them to memorize Scripture. I want them to make Jesus an integral part of their lives, not just something else they plug into an already busy schedule. As a teacher and as a youth pastor, how do I accomplish these things? How do I move beyond simply telling them that reading their Bible is important?
I have to model it for them.
When I am teaching a multiplication lesson, I will fail if I just stand up and tell the students in my class how to do the problem and why it is important. They will stare at me and very few in the room will understand what I just said. If I truly want them to understand the concept of multiplication, I have to model the steps of how to solve the problem. I have to show them several times.
The same is true for the Christian life. I can tell the students in my youth group that reading the Bible is important and that they should have a daily quiet time. I can explain why it is important, but until they see it being done in my own life, I will fail to have the desired impact. I can teach about prayer and why we need it, but until the students see that prayer is a non-negotiable part of my Christian life, it becomes nothing more than a bunch of words.
We all want to have a huge impact on our students and their lives. We all dream that one of our students will be the next Billy Graham, Andy Stanley, or David Platt. If we truly want to sow the seeds to help that happen, we need to model it for them. They need to see we mean what we say. How are you modeling for your students that the Christian life is important?
This guest post was written by Jonathan Pearson is a teacher and student pastor. He is currently searching for a student pastor position. Check out out his blog for more great thoughts on student ministry.
Gone are the days when a senior pastor is looked at as the “one man show.” There are some churches still operating in that system and the senior pastor does everything, but most of those churches are not growing and the senior pastor is left with the weight of the ministry on his shoulders.
Today churches are embracing a much-needed philosophical change of ministry called team leadership. Churches are embracing leadership models that are defined by words such as “team” and “teamwork.” In his book, Advanced Strategic Planning, Aubrey Malphurs says, “Excellent leaders understand that they can accomplish far more through the wisdom of a gifted and committed strategic team of staff and lay leaders.” The pastor is no longer the “one man show,” but is the lead pastors among other gifted and well-trained leaders.
Some Christians and church goers don’t like this model because it may seem to “corporate” or like a “business” model. But before you make that assumption and write off churches that operate with this team leadership philosophy, take a look at some examples of this team leadership in Scripture. Yes, this idea of team leadership is clearly seen in Scripture.
Moses took the advice of Jethro and formed a team to work with him (Exodus 18:24-26). Jethro saw that Moses couldn’t handle his wilderness ministry on his own. He needed help and he needed a team. You can read about the situation Moses was in and the advice of Jethro in verses 1-23. Moses followed Jethro’s advice and formed a team of able men to help him carry the load of his ministry.
Jesus recruited a team of disciples to be with Him and minister alongside Him (Mark 3:13-14). The fact that Jesus operated with a team leadership philosophy should be enough to motivate you to do the same! In Mark 3:13-14 we see Jesus chose twelve men He could be with and could send out to do His ministry.
Paul understood the significance of a team as he led and ministered through numerous teams (Acts 11:22-30). As you read this passage in Acts, and many other passages as well, it is evident that Paul understood the effectiveness of doing ministry as a team. Because he equipped other leaders to share the load of ministry, he was able to reach more people with the Gospel and minister to many more churches than he could have if he was in it alone.
Please don’t dismiss team leadership because the church has neglected it for so long. This idea if seen in the pages of Scripture. Churches can do more with they are led by a gifted team of staff and lay leaders. God wants to do great things through us and we can accomplish more for His Kingdom if we operate as a team.
Most of the content in this post came from Aubrey Malphurs book “Advanced Strategic Planning.” I would encourage you to check out this book and get a better understanding of team leadership, particularly about how to strategically plan as a team.
Working with students can be busy. Between all of the stuff going on at your church and the stuff in their lives, you have little time to catch your breath. Many times in ministry we struggle with their events clashing with our events. So the question is how can we find balance between their events and our events?
I believe the answer is found in one word-missional. We find balance between their events and our events when we think with a missional mind. Let me try to explain what I mean with a few points. When it comes to events, here are a few ways to think with a missional mind. I believe these points will also help you see how to find the balance.
Stop filling up your student ministry calendar with your events. When it comes to working with students, it’s easy to just fill up your calendar with awesome events. Just throw in an all-nighter there and a crazy game night here. Before long, your calendar is full of activities just for them. This isn’t bad, but I’m certain it is not the best. When we do student ministry this way, we operate in a “come and see” model. I think we need to shift to a “go and tell” model in student ministry. The next point will explain.
Equip your students to take Jesus to their events. Spend the time you do have with your students talking about Jesus. Make the most of your meetings by making the Scripture and Jesus the focal point. In that, help them grow in their love for Jesus and then equip them to take that love for Jesus to their events. By doing this your training them to be missional. It’s no longer a “come and see” Jesus model, but a “go and tell” Jesus model which lines up more with Jesus command in Matthew 28:19-20. Stop doing so many of your events so they can take Jesus to their events.
Be missional yourself by attending their events. Leave your office and spend some time of their turf. Take your love for students to their sporting events, plays, and other events they may be involved in. Instead of asking them to always come to you, go to them.
I really believe doing these three things will help you find balance between your events and their events as well as helping your ministry become more missional. Jesus left us with a clear mission and that mission applies to our student ministry as well.