You are one month into your summer. If you are anything like I was then right now you feel like you’re running on a mixture of energy drinks and excitement for what God is doing in the lives of your students. There’s no doubt that summer is tough, but it can also be the most fruitful season of your ministry year. Social media is filled with many things right now in our culture, and one of them is the life change that is happening all over the world as students are at camp and on mission trips. It’s so encouraging to see how God is moving in this generation, and you as a student pastor or youth worker have a front-row seat.
In the midst of a busy summer it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most in student ministry: seeing students become disciples of Jesus Christ. You have two months left in the summer (depending on your local school schedule). It is the perfect time to stop and consider where things are headed at this moment in your student ministry. Do you have things in place for the rest of the summer that will help students come to know Jesus? Does your ministry calendar for the rest of the year reveal a plan to see students follow Jesus more deeply?
Fun is an important part of student ministry, but your calling isn’t to run an activity day camp for teenagers; it is to make disciples. Think about how you can have a disciple-making influence in the lives of your students with every activity that you have left this summer. Have intentional conversations in the van as you travel. Make it a point to schedule meals with groups of students or families that you need to spend extra time with. Send encouraging texts or notes with families as they head out on vacation. There are so many options available to you as you minister for the rest of the summer. The point is that these critical months aren’t squandered. There’s too much at stake to just roll through the rest of the calendar absent-mindedly.
The purpose of this article isn’t to address specific issues in our culture, but I do have a question for you: Do you believe that the students in your ministry can change the culture in which they live? Have you ever thought about the fact that the students in your ministry will be the voices of, advocates for, and even legislate the direction of our country? That day is coming quickly and we must do everything we can to prepare them; to make sure that they build a foundation that is centered on Jesus and His word. This can be the summer that this foundation takes shape (or is built upon) in the lives of your students.
Here’s some good news – your students can change the culture in which they live. They can live a life that is in this world, but distinctly separate from it. And you can lead them to this reality. Why? Because Jesus lives in you and He lives in them. This is something that you know and that you tell students frequently, but maybe for a moment in the middle of your summer you need to stop long enough to allow that truth to sink deeply into your heart. Jesus lives in you. He is empowering you to a significant calling.
Instead of spending an abundance of time for the next 2 months worrying about our culture, let’s focus on the one thing that can make a difference: Jesus magnified in the lives of this generation’s teenagers.
This post was written by Ben Trueblood, Director of Lifeway Student Ministry