The Most Important Thing
There is a massive misunderstanding taking place in student ministries all over the country. I’ve seen it in rural, suburban, and urban contexts. It is present in small, medium, and large churches. The confusion is pervasive, and the consequences can be severe.
And I think it’s time the whole thing gets settled once and for all.
What is this misunderstanding? Simple: the question of what the most important thing in a youth ministry is. Let me illustrate the point. Take thirty seconds, remove your eyes from this screen, and think to yourself: What does a ministry to students need more than anything else? Go ahead...do it!
Okay. What did you think. I’ve composed a list of some of the most common answers:
• Students! (duh)
• A great youth minister
• A flashy building
• A relationship with local schools
• Lots of things for kids to do
• A gym
• Trips & Events
• Bible Studies
• A great worship band
• Powerful preaching
• Small Groups
• A church bus
• Sound Equipment
All of these things ARE great and we DO need those things (well...we need some of them...some of them we just want). But none of these are what I would call the most important thing. And it is this misunderstanding that is harming many ministries all over the country.
If someone pinned me down and made me choose--I could have a student ministry with dedicated meeting space that was top-notch, a slammin’ worship band every week, and a volunteer workforce of 20something college kids that teenagers idolized for their spiky hair, skinny jeans, and tattoos, or I could have an ordinary space that we shared with no available musicians, no 20somethings, and no great equipment, but we would have a hundred parents who were sold out to Jesus, discipling their kids, and supporting what we do, the choice would be a simple one.
Door number two, please.
And every student minister who has been doing this for more than about three months would pick the parents, too.
Because without parents who are under girding the values of the Scriptures at home, what possible change can we possibly affect as a ministry in a couple hours each week? Without parents who are teaching the Bible at home, how much Bible can we actually cram into a students head and heart over the course of a year? If a parent is not taking on the role of spiritual leader in their kids life, our attempts to do that will (usually) fall flat on their face once a kid graduates from high school.
The most important thing is also the most effective thing--church and home partnering together to disciple sons and daughters in the faith.
So let’s make it happen together. If you ever need to talk to me, ever have a question, or ever need some help, contact me at the numbers below. Until then, can you make our most important thing your most important thing? In doing so, we are pointing students to Jesus more effectively--something all of us want to do.
I want to cover each of these ideas: loving Jesus, discipling your kids, and supporting our ministry, in greater detail. I hope to inspire you to action, give you practical ideas that will help, and swing open the door of communication between us as a ministry and you as a parent. After all, we want to minister with you, not around you.
Thanks for loving Jesus, the church, and your students!