Did you know that there is a job that requires an individual to relationally walk alongside a human being that is going through more physical, emotional and biological change than any other time in their life; with the hope to help that individual discover and/or grow in their faith? Let me state this in a different way: the job of a student pastor is to facilitate an environment in which healthy relationships can exist for the purposes of introducing students to Jesus and helping them follow him with the entirety of their lives.
Oh, and by the way it doesn’t pay much, and there may be a few more downsides! Some of the downsides are unfair expectations from parents who want you to accomplish something with their child in a couple of hours that they couldn’t accomplish all week. Another could be the stigma that if something goes wrong, it’s usually the student ministries fault. (Translation, it’s the student pastors’ fault.) My favorite one is the viewpoint, held by those probably with no malicious intent, that one day that precious little student pastor can grow up and become a ‘real’ pastor.
Anyone involved in ministry with students can tell you, the pros far outweigh the cons. It is an exciting calling/job to invest one’s life into the spiritual growth of the next generation. Personally, I have enjoyed 15 plus years of this calling; and here are a few of my favorite reasons:
- Students aren’t typically afraid to take risks for the sake of the gospel
- Students actually believe and are willing to pray audacious prayers that are a sweet sound to the Savior’s ears
- Students believe that God can use them in the here and now, as opposed to later on in the future
Yep, no area of ministry I’d rather be in than right here in the midst of the organized chaos, seemingly awkward, awesomely ADHD crowd. Now, I’m not suggesting that student ministers are smarter or better than anyone else, but they are hip to a jive most aren’t…that organized chaos can start a movement…one of those seemingly awkward kids will influence more people than the rest of us combined, and while they may seem to be distracted in an ADHD kind of way, the other side of that coin is that they will become gloriously obsessed with God’s desired will for His creation.
On that note, here are five observations of how those involved in ministering to this generation. Think of these reflections as ways student ministers are impacting students who will in turn impact the world. This is how and why pastoring students can change the world!
- A student pastor helps a student discover and understand their identityin the culture in which that student lives.
- A student pastor will often times serve as a surrogatewhen crucial relationships are unhealthy or non-existent.
- A student pastor is a wise counselorfor a generation navigating the evolving chaos that is culture.
- A student pastor creates, with his or her student ministry, a laboratory of imaginary thought. That student pastor then becomes an encourager of dreamsto change the world for the glory of God.
- A student pastor is a guide for students helping them to wander welltowards the heaven country.
In conclusion, this is why SLUinvests so much time, money and energy into the experience called Youth Pastor Summit. We simply want to be a cheerleader for those making disciples of this generation, we want to champion those who have committed their lives to changing the world…literally one student at a time. I hope you will join us either in Nashville on April 15-16, Dallas on April 8-9, or SoCal on April 1-2 (the YPS Orlando is full with a waitlist). Go ahead and register yourself and team by heading over to our website. Our ministry looks forward to gathering with you so we can learn and laugh together, celebrate and collaborate together, or just simply share a cup of coffee and pray for one another. In any case, keep serving even when there are more questions than answers, keep loving even when some days feels like a one-way street and keep teaching trusting that seeds of growth are being planted in the lives of hearers. Do all of this and more, because through the organized chaos, seemingly awkward, and awesomely ADHD…you are changing the world.