How do I know if I have a healthy student ministry?
In my 13 years as a student pastor in local churches, I asked myself this question many times. I’ve discovered that other student pastors are asking this question as well. It’s a topic that comes up frequently in conferences and other meetings. Every student pastor should ask this question.
As you wrestle with this question, make sure you remember that we’re not talking about ministry strategy or ministry context. Each church has a unique context. There are probably as many student ministry strategies as there are student pastors. However, I do believe there are three student ministry elements that will be present in a healthy ministry regardless of strategy or context.
First, healthy student ministries are kingdom expanding. Healthy ministry to students does more than expand a local church; it also expands the kingdom. Students hear the gospel and have an opportunity to respond, and then are challenged to take the gospel to their neighborhoods, campuses, and to the ends of the Earth.
Second, healthy student ministries are character transforming. Student ministry should not be about forming the character of a student into what we, or their parents, think it should be. Instead, healthy student ministries seek to engage students with the Word of God where they are transformed by His grace.
Third, healthy student ministries are culture shaping. Healthy student ministries produce students who will shape the culture, not be shaped by it. In the Bible and throughout church history, we can see examples of the Lord using young people to shape their culture. Why assume these examples are chained to the past? Can’t God do this in our own day?
I look forward to the conversation with you as we engage in student ministry together. I pray that God will use these three elements in your ministry as you seek to make disciples of students and their families.
Discover more about the 3 Elements of a Healthy Student Ministry and how you can build and lead a truly healthy student ministry through Ben’s book Student Ministry that Matters.
Ben Trueblood serves as the Director of Student Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources and has served the local church as a student pastor for thirteen years. In addition to his role at Lifeway Ben is involved in training, consulting, and speaking to student ministries throughout the U.S.