The following post was written by Royland Kirkwood. Roy serves as an elder and the student pastor for Shiloh Church in Jacksonville, FL and has 12 years of student ministry experience.
Being a student pastor is not easy, but it is awesome. In over ten years serving as a student pastor, I’ve found it has great perks and is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I could list so many reasons that I’m reminded of on a daily basis, but here are five reasons being a student pastor is awesome.
1. We get to serve the church.
The church has one united mission. Matthew 28: 19-20 tells us what that mission is. We are to go to the nations, make disciples and baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We get to serve the church in the Great Commission. As student pastors, we do that by discipling students and helping them understand that we are to live sent. Preaching, teaching, hosting events, school partnerships and everything else serves the church by making student disciples. This a big responsibility but such an honor to be chosen by God to do it.
2. We get to share the gospel.
This may be a no-brainer, but we so often look past how much of a privilege it is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. The students we minister to hear all kinds of stories and news from their friends, social media platforms, and other worldly outlets. But no matter what our students hear on a weekly basis, every week we get to share the best news that there is to share. Teenagers will never hear anything more powerful and life-changing than the truth that God loves us so much that He sent His perfect sinless Son to die for us. We don’t have just another message—we have THE message—the only message that matters, the only message that saves.
3. We get to have fun!
There is not a ministry in the church that has more fun than student ministry. Student pastors often set the tone of fun and keep it going. Some churches have designated places for students to hang out and enjoy things like video games, etc., for the sake of connecting relationally. Many events involve theme parks, going to camp, and enjoying retreats—and no one (well, hardly anyone) complains! While we have to be careful not to build our ministry solely on fun, it is part of our jobs.
4. We get to build our leadership skills.
When I first learned how to drive, I was terrible because I had never done it before. I read the DMV driver’s manual and watched videos, but it only helped a little bit. It wasn’t until I actually started driving a car that my driving skills improved. The same is true of our leadership skills. We don’t get them overnight—we have to build them up. We do this by leading the students and adults in our ministries. Student ministry is only as strong as its volunteers and student leaders. We spend a lot of time with our team and have the opportunity to lead and invest in them well.
5. We get to build our Bible knowledge.
This one is the most important. We can’t do our job effectively without the Word of God. Student ministry should be Word-based. In a culture growing farther and farther from God, our students need Bible studies, Sunday school, worship services, small groups, and more. We are the primary teaching voice outside of the lead pastor to our students, so our bible knowledge will always be growing.