I recently saw an article on CNN’s twitter feed entitled, “5 Ways To Be Extraordinary” by Brandon Griggs. It caught my attention and like I often do, I emailed it to myself to read later. When I got into the article it was not exactly what I thought it would be as it was really an end-of-the-year article about pulling aspects out of some inspiring people who were inspiring they identified in 2014. The things they identified, however, have merit for our consideration about serving students in the current culture and context we find ourselves in.
- Show courage in a crisis
- Exhibit grace under pressure
- Meet evil head on
- Miracles are within your grasp
- Share credit for your success
If you see those five ways to be extraordinary, you could easily think the writer is talking about your role as a youth minister or leader.
Show courage in crisis
“Crisis” would be a good description of the waters your students are trying to navigate with changing bodies and growing minds. As they search for truth in a world that seems to be changing as fast as ever, it is important for you as their leader and mentor to show courage and not be afraid to deal with the issues that they are facing. Your students don’t need another friend; they need a father or mother figure that is much wiser than them and will help them grow in the Word and apply it to all of the areas of their lives.
Exhibit grace under pressure
Most that master effective student ministry (if that is possible) understand that it is about much more than spending time with students. I often tell leaders to create a plan and divide their time up into thirds with 1/3 students, 1/3 parents and 1/3 youth workers. If you can be effective in each of these areas and the Lord is a part of your ministry, you should be able to create a dynamic ministry.
There is likely pressure on you as a student minister from parents who want you to “fix” their kids or make sure their kids don’t do stupid stuff. This is one of the biggest areas where I would encourage you to ask the Spirit to guide you as you interact with and lead parents, especially if many of them are older than you.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”1
Meet evil head on
You are called to be a minister of the Gospel, not a minister of games. If the Kingdom is not being advanced in your ministry, take a step back and evaluate what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.James 4:7
Miracles are within your grasp
The career and role that you find yourself in has the greatest business asset around: the Creator of the heavens and earth sent His Son to give us an example of how to live, left His Word to instruct us and upon His earthly departure, gave us His Spirit as a deposit of His return and to be a guide for us every day of our lives. Live a life and lead a ministry surrendered to the Spirit, and you will continue to see miracles happen in the lives of many.
Share credit for your success
If your ministry is all about you it will fail and have little eternal impact. Obviously, first and foremost, it is about the Lord and what He does in the lives of your students, parents and adults. But as you know, it takes a quality team in order to get students to the feet of Jesus. This means you should work well with the other life-stage leaders on your church staff. Work in concert with the children’s minister for great transition, serving them in their needs with your students being involved (more than just that one week of VBS), and do the same for the college or young adult minister who will lead your students after they leave the youth group. You should be strategic and highly connected with your pastor and how they are leading the church body as a whole. The same should be true with your music minister or church worship leader. (Explain why)
So it is that easy, right?
While everyone might not give you the respect your role deserves (usually because they don’t fully understand what you do), I encourage you to go hard every day after being extraordinary in who you are and what you do. Strive for this daily not only for your good, but also for His Glory.
Header image provided through Creative Commons by Wayne Miller.