You can count on it. You can take it to the bank or take stock in it. You can bet the farm on it or your bottom dollar, but whatever you do, just don’t be surprised by it.
You WILL have tough seasons in Student Ministry.
There will be days when you want to throw in the towel and walk away. There will be days when you want to succumb to the voices telling you cannot change that student’s life. There will be seasons of frustration and hurt.
And my least favorite…Stagnation.
Your Student Ministry will hit a brick wall at some point. It will seem stuck and you’ll feel as if you’re spinning the tires trying to get things moving again.
But when that season shows up, it is not time to quit. It is not time to resign, but rather, to reboot.
To reset the trajectory of your ministry. To drill down into where you’re going as a group and how you intend to get there. To address the positives and negatives of your ministry.
As I look back over my Student Ministries, there was always a season of rebooting in every location we served.
And while we hated to reboot at the time, as we look back some of your greatest seasons of growth were immediately following the reboot. The reboot process is never easy, but it is a vital and necessary part to the growth of your group.
To help you navigate the reboot, here are a few tips that helped Bethany and I during those reset times in our Student Ministry.
- Determine where you are currently
This is one of the hardest parts of the process because it requires us to be brutally honest with ourselves as leaders. Where are we currently? Where are we dropping the ball? Where are we excelling? Are our services engaging enough that a student would want to bring a friend? If they did bring a friend, what connections were made that would make them want to return?
Keep in mind: You cannot get to where you want to be as a Student Ministry if you’re not willing to figure out exactly where you are currently. Try getting in your car to drive somewhere without allowing the GPS to know where you currently are. It’s not going to work very well. The same rule applies. If you want to get where you’re going, you have to be honest about where you are.
- Focus on your focus
What is your objective as a Student Ministry? What has God called you to be in your community? Just because the Student Ministry across the country is doing something doesn’t mean you need to. God has called you to a specific purpose in how you reach you neighborhood. Every Student Ministry is unique and therefore has a unique purpose.I absolutely believe we should learn from each other as Youth Workers. We should engage in dialogue and add elements to our Student Ministry that have been successful elsewhere. But those additions should not come at the cost of forfeiting who God is calling us to be. As you add wrinkles to what you do as a Student Ministry, make sure to keep your main focus at the forefront of all you do.
- Create and develop a plan of action
You’ve heard the old adage “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. While cliche, there is a lot of truth to that statement. One of my favorite questions to ask Youth Leaders once they share their passions and “focus” for their Student Ministry is “How?” How are you going to get there?
What steps are you taking to push you towards that objective?You want a strong leadership team?
Who are you recruiting?
You want to to engage your community?
What connections are you building to do so?
You want a deep, impactful move of God in your services?
How are you pushing them to prepare their hearts prior?Accomplishing the vision requires developing a plan of action. It requires tangible steps to making the dream a reality. It is not an easy process to create a strong plan, but it is a necessary one.
Creating a plan is vital, but so is following through on that plan. There comes a time when you have to take the step of faith to institute the process you’ve established. Organization is never a substitute for action. We cannot let fear stop us from launching that new idea, new ministry or new element. It may not be perfected yet, but there are some things that can only be perfected through implementation. Build, develop and create the plan…But don’t forget to launch it!
There will be tough, frustrating and annoying seasons in your Student Ministry. You will encounter difficult times, difficult parents and difficult teens. There will be times that you want to give it all up and do something different with your life.
But before you resign, reboot.
Seasons don’t last forever. You can come out of this a better leader than you ever thought possible.
I believe in you.
And I believe your greatest season of growth is waiting behind that reboot!