This is a post we did for volunteeryouthministry.com last year. This post marked our sixth month anniversary writing blogs and we took a minute to sum up what we had written about in the past. I remember thinking at the time that this was getting to the end of what we had to write about. I had no idea the plans God had for us and for our own website! Thanks again to Dennis Beckner for giving us our start! The original blog can be found here.
Phil. 4:13 – I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
This week marks the six month anniversary that we have been writing this blog. The time passed quickly to be honest, but when I look back there has been a lot we have learned in these past six months. We’d like to share a few of those lessons with you.
1. Student ministry takes three things: a heart for students, a willingness to be an example and a lot of prayer! There were times when I thought we would run out of things to write about, but I don’t think that is ever going to happen. God continues to place us in situations where we are learning and growing and we pass those on to you.
2. Pain is real. We both have had to deal with some messy situations with some of our students this year. Their pain is our pain, and it kills me when I think of some of the stuff that my small group guys have gone through. But I keep Phil. 4:13 in mind, and use it when I talk with students. I try to point out the lessons that God teaches us with each pain and trouble that we go through.
3. We grow as our students grow. I think I have grown more spiritually in the past year than I have at any time in my life. We learn as we teach, we grow closer to God as we show our students how awesome their life can be when they grow closer to God. When we love on our students, we realize how much God loves us.
4. We get blessed just as much if not more than our students. I call this the “dirty little secret” in student ministry. All of us choose student ministry because we have a heart for students and we want to help them, we want them to have a blessed life, and we want them to grow closer to God and find salvation in their lives. Truth is, God blesses us as we do that.
5. Keep growing, keep learning. Leaders are learners, when you stop learning you stop leading. I want to be able to answer the tough questions for my students. Learning more about the Bible and about God draws me closer to Him. My quiet time each day is vital to having a close relationship with God. There have been times when I have read a bible passage and that very day a student would come to me with a problem that would relate to scripture I just read. I call those times, “a total God thing”. God knew the situation I was going to be in, and he gave me the ammo to fight the battle before I even got on the battlefield.
6. When things get tough, you’re doing something right. The enemy loves to kick us down a peg when we start doing good things for God. If you experience spiritual warfare, you know you’re either getting close to a breakthrough, or the enemy doesn’t like where you’re going. The hardest, most discouraging times in youth ministry are times when I know I’m doing great things.
7. Our time isn’t our time. Even with all the time we put into this game we call “youth ministry,” we have to remember that we’re not living on our time. Just like everything else, God has given us the time we have and we need to keep in mind that things will happen on His schedule. We might want something really badly, but if it’s not the right time, it’s not going to happen.
Here’s the bottom line in student ministry...how many students will be in heaven one day because you took the time to volunteer your time and pass on what you have learned from generation to generation?