One person, who is working full time and really gifted, may be able to personally and relationally connect with – what would you say – 30 students? It would take some work – but it could be done. And then you hit the lid.
There is really only one way to be effective at getting and keeping students connected to your ministry at church and that is by learning to work through others. It takes a team – the whole congregation really – to raise up the next generation of disciples.
Here are six steps the youth worker (volunteer or paid) needs to focus on to create a team effort in student ministry:
1. Invest some time raising up adult leaders.
There are good ways to pull in people for ministry with you. If you are given charge of the student ministry, part of your time should be spent in gathering a team of people – and continually doing so for the ministry. Have some clear entry points for adults to join you. Ask people personally to be on your team. Give people ending times to their commitment. Be organized in staying in touch with them. You must raise up a team of committed adult leaders. You can’t do it alone.
2. Invest in your adult leaders.
Recruiting is half the battle. You also want to invest in your team members. Help equip and encourage them. Give them ideas and frameworks for ministry to students. As you pour into your leaders they will in turn pour into students. Stay connected to your leaders. Enjoy them. Build community within your team and invest in their growth and leadership.
3. Keep connected to and in support of the pastor of the church.
This doesn’t require a huge time commitment, but be sure to be supportive of the pastor’s vision for the church. Help the pastor connect with the students. Keep the pastor updated on what you are doing and how things are going. Be teachable, low maintenance and kind as you are working with your pastor. If needed, you set up the meeting / phone call / check in times.
4. Share the vision of student ministry with the congregation.
The congregation needs to hear what is going on from time to time. This can be done through church publications, videos, Facebook and all other means. Share your vision. Sharing your vision helps you hone in, with clarity, on what you are trying to do. And it helps the church keep ministry to the next generation on the front burner!
5. Create owners: delegate responsibility, not just tasks.
Youth workers must learn to delegate – from small to large things. The key to delegating is documenting clearly what needs to be done and then seeking out the right person for the job. When delegating, try to delegate responsibility for the task, not just the task itself. They go hand in hand, but if you want to build owners in the ministry, they must sense the responsibility.
6. Develop a prayer plan for your ministry.
The ultimate goal is to help students be connected to Jesus! And when the church is functioning as the body of Christ, it’s a great first, tangible step for students to experience God’s love for them. Develop a way that works for you to pray for your students, for your leaders and for the lost teenagers in your community. Invite the church to join you in prayer. There are many ways to make this really tangible and effective for your congregation.
Tim Price is the Director of Harvest Ministry Teams, a non-for-profit equipping ministry for young leaders. Based in Troy, IL, Harvest is involved in worship ministry events and training events for students and leaders all over the Midwest. He also serves on staff part-time at Troy United Methodist Church. Tim writes at TIMPRICEBLOG.COM sharing ideas, clarity and insights to help others confidently lead the church they serve. @HMTRESOURCES.