Just as there are loadbearing walls in a house, there are loadbearing pillars in effective student ministry. If you remove any one of these five pillars, it’s detrimental to your entire student ministry.
1. Passionate Youth Leaders
First Corinthians 11:1 says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” It really does begin with us in student ministry. If we are not passionate youth leaders, why would anyone want to follow any teaching, instruction, or counsel that we give?
We must be real. Proverbs 11:1 says, “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” May our teens see Christ in us and see something more attractive than what the world has to offer them. What gets sacrificed in student ministry is not our to do list, but our hearts.
We must be relational. Sometimes we try to have influence, but we don’t have a relationship. Strive for regular impact through systematic visits, calls, cards, text messages, etc. Relational investments reap spiritual influence.
We must be ready. The Bible talks about this in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” We are ministering in crazy times. There are situations that teens are facing today that we are not ready to address. We have to be ahead of the trends. We also need to be ready in our planning. You can avoid last minute frustration by being prepared.
2. Parental Involvement
Your student ministry will plateau at a certain point if you’re not involving parents. I’ve seen God really expand the ministry because we have sought to minister to parents. Your teen parents need information, instruction, and involvement. Communicate events, counsel on certain topics, and care for them.
3. Focused Bible Teaching
Deuteronomy 6:6–7 says, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Always give handles. This is practical application. Give them something that they can take away from the lesson.
4. Student Growth Opportunites
Give students an opportunity to grow their faith. Ephesians 4:12 says, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” You need to give them opportunities to deepen their faith and to serve others.
5. Long-Term Strategy
Connect your teens with the pastor. The two reasons that teens don’t stay in church are they don’t know what they believe and they don’t have a place to serve. The transition from high school to college is the most important transition of their lives. Point them to their pastor.
Teach the significance of following God’s will. Teach principles of how to find God’s will. Give them an opportunity to ask questions about God’s will.
Maintain a high level of ministry through transitions. Give them a questionnaire about how they are doing spiritually in the past year. If you’re ever lacking ministry opportunities, just do a questionnaire, and it will create ministry opportunities.