For student ministries, volunteer engagement is essential.
The days of a student ministry being led by a charismatic leader with adult chaperones is as far behind us as bellbottom jeans.
Every church ministry must be aligned around relational discipleship for the flourishing of the Gospel. Student ministries will fail to develop disciples when the student pastor is the only person investing into the lives of the students. When we fail to develop disciples, we fail to fulfill the Great Commission.
Leaders are the key to student ministry discipleship. You can say goodbye to discipleship if multiple adult leaders are not connected to students.
That’s a big deal! The discipleship process must involve every adult volunteer. If we want to ensure every adult is on mission we need to identify what is getting in the way of our discipleship efforts.
[Read: 8 Deadly Sins Of Student Pastors]
Are you committing any of these deadly sins? Be honest with yourself, then take the necessary steps to get back on track with God’s mission.
7 Deadly Sins of Student Volunteers
1. Showing Up Late And/Or Leaving Early
Nothing communicates a lack of investment more than showing up late or leaving early. A large portion of discipleship is proximity. Those who are inconsistent at Bible studies and worship gatherings are not developing disciples. The Great Commission doesn’t say “Sit in a youth room to fulfill a student-to-leader ratio.” Jesus commissions every disciple to create disciples.
2. Only Talking With The Adults
Why are you volunteering with the student ministry? Is it to invest in students? Great. Investment doesn’t end once you step into the room; that is when investment begins! Don’t fall into the temptation of sitting in the back of the student room and chatting with the other adult leaders. You are serving to make a Gospel difference in a teenager’s life. So pull up a chair and get to know some students.
3. Failing To Follow Up With Students
One hour of communication per week does not sustain a friendship. Discipling students involves following up with students throughout the week. This may look different each week (attending ball games, texting students Bible verses, inviting students to events), but the key is to show up in the life of a student. When you show up outside of “church time” students will begin to see that God cares for them outside of “church time.”
4. Never Talking About Jesus Or The Bible
Student ministry isn’t all fun and games. Who am I kidding? Student ministry is awesome! The presence of games shouldn’t lead to an absence of Biblical instruction. Each student ministry volunteer has a responsibility to share about the grace, love and goodness of Jesus. Don’t let the student pastor be the only voice the students hear.
5. Pretending That You Have Figured Life Out
You know that being an adult doesn’t bring clarity to life and an uncanny ability to live perfectly! Be careful not to project a “holier than thou” persona in front of your students. Jesus has saved you, and the students, by grace alone. Sure you have some wisdom to share, but be sure that you are communicating that you still need Jesus.
6. Failing To Grow Spiritually
The number one role of a student ministry volunteer is to be a spiritual leader. It doesn’t matter what area you serve in, you must be growing spiritually. The church’s mission is to create disciples. Only disciples can create disciples. An excellent book to gauge your spiritual health is Ten Questions To Diagnose Your Spiritual Health by Donald S. Whitney.
7. Investing In The Program While Neglecting People
How many hours have you spent working on the worship set list this week? Or how much time have you spent looking at your small group lesson for Sunday? How about this one: How many hours have you spent encouraging and communicating with students this week? Preparation and study are essentials to be a great leader, but when we drift away from the people and only invest in the program, lesson or worship gathering, our students will leave the church.
After taking an honest look at this list, how many of these sins are you struggling with? Being able to diagnose our current level of engagement will allow us to dive deeper into our discipleship efforts!
What other areas would you add to the list?
CHASE SNYDER is the founder of MINISTRYBUBBLE.COM and serves as a Family Pastor in Knoxville, Tenn. He seeks to live a life that glorifies God and disciples others through their day-to-day lives, and his passion is equipping those in the church to seek those who are outside of it. Check out his writing at MINISTRY BUBBLE or connect with him on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or INSTAGRAM.