With the explosion of girls’ ministry in local churches, God is doing great things in the lives of female students. In recent conversations with some local church student ministers (mostly males), many have shared the challenge and tension they feel in ministering to females as a male. While it is incredibly important to involve godly women in the lives of both female and male students, I don’t believe a male youth minister can just say, “We will leave girls’ ministry to the female adults.”
Here are some things to consider in ministering effectively to female students as a male student minister.
- Make sure everything is focused on Christ. Ensure your personal walk with Him is strong, and focus all ministry on Jesus and the Word. Make sure students hear you connecting life with God’s Word, not just your life experience.
- Build roadblocks in your own life and create accountability.
- Know what your personal vulnerabilities are. Poor decisions are usually made when people are tired, emotional, or feeling invincible.
- Give trusted people permission to ask how you are doing and answer them honestly.
- Meet with two or three girls at a time and in a public place.
- Be accountable to your pastor and staff and keep them informed of your ministry calendar. Let it be known when you are out of the office, where you are going, and who you are meeting.
- Find trusted female adults who are part of your church and invite them to be part of student ministry. Invest in those adults and support them in their roles. Be sure that you engage, encourage, support and resource the adult females that are involved in girls’ ministry. Make sure others see it as a viable part of the overall student ministry.
- Don’t try to “fix” all the issues your girls are dealing with.* Most males are fixers. We get to a solution and send people on their way. Younger females can sometimes see males as heroes when they “fix” their problems. Remember that issues in a student’s life are designed to help them lean in and trust Christ. Point them in that direction and help them understand that there is only one hero– Jesus.
- Understand the power and implications of physical touch. Always use it appropriately.
- Let your relationship be one of the wiser, big brother rather than that of a father.
- Support parents, even when you disagree with the decision they make regarding their children.
- Always honor, respect and encourage your wife publicly. If you are married, LOVE YOUR WIFE and let students hear and see you honoring her in your life and marriage. If you are not married, be honorable and Christ-like in your relationships with the opposite sex. Everywhere, and at all times.
- Pray. For your students, for your church, for the girls in student ministry, for their parents, for your family, and for your personal walk and ministry.
What is a word of advice you would share with a youth minister on this subject?
*If a student is involved in illegal or immoral activity, we student ministry leaders have a responsibility to intervene.