The 6 Gotta-Haves in Student Ministry Today

ministry_logo-01In a few days, I have the privilege of representing the Campbellsville Univ. School of Theology at the 2015 Winter Jam Tour “Jam Zone” at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.

Thousands of students, leaders, parents and ministry volunteers will descend upon Lexington to hear great Christian artists in a one-of-a-kind concert venue.  I have been to Winter Jam numerous times as a youth pastor and volunteer and have always had a blast.  We are bringing our boys this year…and ear plugs.

During the Jam Zone, I have chance to spend time encouraging parents and leaders in a training session called “The 6 Gotta-Haves in Student Ministry Today.”  This session is designed to encourage, inform and equip parents and leaders while they are waiting for the concert to begin that evening.

To be truthful, I am a little nervous.  I have been out of the student ministry game for sometime. The last time I can say I was an official youth minister on a church staff was 2003.  That’s 12 years in the rear-view mirror.  Wow, time has flown by.

Even though I teach a Youth Ministry class every two years at CU, I am recognizing how quickly student ministry is changing around me.  I do my best to stay up on all the changes, reading books, engaging in the online discussion, tracking trends and demographics, yet I still find myself scratching my head when someone asks, “What do we need to do to reach teenagers today?”

So to frame that answer (and prepared for the upcoming conference), I believe I would reply “You gotta-have six ‘Gs.’  Six gotta-haves in student ministry today.

1.  GUTS – Student ministry is not for the faint at heart.  You have to have passion, conviction, courage, and determination to enter into this ministry field.  Teenagers and their parents can be wonderful to serve, but they can also be complicated and complex to understand.

2.  GAMEPLAN – Student ministry does not work without a strategy, a calendar, and a system of organization.  Unfortunately many student pastors have attempted and failed to lead their students by the seat of their pants.  In the end, the students are frustrated.  The parents are put out.  The church staff is wondering how to move this leader on.  Nobody wins, everyone looses. So we much have a plan.  Work the plan.  Adjust the plan.  Evaluate the plan.

3.  G-PAs & G-MAs (aka Grandparents) or better yet GENERATIONS –  You gotta-have other generations speaking into the lives of our students.  Our American culture is fragmenting young people more and more.  They desperately need intergenerational relationships to grow up more balanced and capable of social interaction.  There is no question, students need their parents to be invested in their lives.  However, they also need other wise, non-family relationships just as much.  One of the great failures of youth ministry of the 90’s & early 2000’s was isolation from other generations.  Thank goodness we have corrected that terrible mistake.

4.  GOALS – Along with the game plan, student ministry leaders must have goals they are working toward.  Ministry leadership is easily swayed by the emergencies of life and the bumps along the road resulting in leaders who cannot stay focused, cannot complete a task, and cannot work through a to-do list.  Those “interruptions” are part of the deal; everyone in ministry knows this.  But quality leadership also requires diligence, excellence, and persistence. Having 3-5 God-directed goals each year helps focus your attention and your mission.

5.  GOSPEL – This should really be first on the list.  You must have a ministry centered in the Good News of Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation.  We gotta-have the Gospel that clearly states God is holy, we are sinful, and Jesus is the only answer.  In a world of rampant relativism, pluralism, secularism, postmodernism, and every other “ism” you can imagine, student ministry leaders can never shy away from the Gospel of Jesus.  It is why we do what we do.

6.  GROUP – The term “youth group” seems out-dated and cheesy to many of us.  We always wanted our student ministries to be more than just a “group” of kids that met in the church basement and played a bunch of games.  We wanted the student ministry to have substance, meaning, purpose, intentionality and value to the larger congregation and the kingdom of God.

Yet, no matter how much you dislike the word, the student ministry still needs to be a group.  A group that is open to unbelieving students.  A group that is welcoming to parents and grandparents.  A group that is focused on discipling younger believers toward maturity in Christ.  A group that find strength from being together.  A group where honest questions can be asked and honest answers given in return.  A group that functions within the larger body of the church, but also has a uniqueness to it as it ministers to teenagers.

As much as we may want to get away from the word “group,” student ministry is still a very important group within the family of God.

Six gotta-haves.  Guts.  Gameplan.  Generations.  Goals.  Gospel.  Group.  This is what I will be sharing at Winter Jam.  I hope the leaders are encouraged and challenged.

__________________________
G-words that didn’t make the list and probably should be banned from student ministry altogether: gimmicks, goofiness, gag-gifts, and game-show host youth ministers.

Serving. Changing the World.

SERVING.  CHANGING THE WORLD.
Mary Kate Young, left, of Paris, Ky., at head of table, and Emma Calvert of Scottsville, Ky., lead a workshop for church leaders at Campbellsville University.  (Campbellsville University Photo by Candice Boone)

Mary Kate Young, left, of Paris, Ky., at head of table, and Emma Calvert of Scottsville, Ky., lead a workshop for church leaders at Campbellsville University.
(Campbellsville University Photo by Candice Boone)

by Candice Boone, Campbellsville Unviersity Student News WriterCAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Students and faculty from Campbellsville University’s School of Theology and School of Music hosted a workshop recently titled “Making the Pieces Fit.”

“The purpose of this workshop was to serve and equip church leaders and volunteers in the rapidly changing world of technology in ministry,” said Dr. Shane Garrison, associate professor of educational ministries and director of theology online.

“Churches, in our modern day, have to be fully functional in online marketing, graphic design, social media and desktop publishing. Every church has a mission given by God. We want to help them communicate and achieve that mission.”

There were 12 churches present with 28 total participants. The churches represented at the workshop included churches from Taylor, Adair, Russell, Whitley, Breckinridge, Hart and Green counties.

Students led most of the workshops with the exception of the sound and lighting design led by Robert Bender, CU coordinator of audio and visual services.

Among the workshops offered were: Stage Craft and Set Design, led by Fred Hoagland of Falls of Rough, Ky. Clayton Brooks of Bardstown, Ky., worship arts major, and Drew O’Neal of Campbellsville, educational ministries major, led a workshop titled Worship Presentation Software and Design. Leading the Church Web Design and Podcasting workshop was mass communication student Josh McCoin of Frankfort, Ky. and educational ministries major, Chris Wright of Williamsburg, Ky.

In the second round of workshops there was Print Publishing led by educational ministries major Emma Calvert of Scottsville, Ky. and worship arts major Mary Kate Young of Paris, Ky., was held for Social Media Integration was led by educational ministries major Jon Kattus of Versailles, Ky., and worship arts major Devan Bishop of Columbia, Ky.

Garrison said, “I was personally very proud of our student presenters. Their topics were relevant, informative and professional. They shared from personal experience and left a lasting impression on those who came.

“The mission of the CU School of Theology is to produce world changers for Christ who are passionately evangelical, church connected, spiritual entrepreneurs. These student presenters demonstrated that mission and helped equip these leaders to more faithfully and effectively serve the kingdom of God in their local context.”

The workshop was done in part in response to a request from the Campbellsville University Church Relations Council during the CRC’s spring 2014 meeting.

“CU very intentionally engages with the local church. This is another example of how we are working with our CRC and leaders of local churches in engaging our faculty, staff, and students in helping churches to be better engaged in ministry,” said Dr. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.

CUTheology Students Host Worship and Tech Workshop

mosaic

Workshop Theme: “Making the Pieces Fit Together”

Nine students and several faculty and staff from @CUTheology and the CU School of Music are hosting a Worship & Technology Workshop, Thursday, November 20, 2014 from 6:30-8:00 pm in the home of the School of Theology, Druien Hall.

Check out the flyer.  Registration is still available.

Worship Tech Workshop Flyer

WORKSHOP OPTIONS

Stage Craft & Set Design – Druien Hall 6
Learn how to build easy and cost-affective staging based on a sermon series or season of ministry.  See examples of materials and ways to utilize lighting and fabric for maximum effectiveness.  Presented by Fred Hoagland.

Worship Presentation Software & Design – Druien Hall 4
Take a quick tour of ProPresenter and Media Shout, the two industry standards for worship presentation.  Discuss how color, font and image impacts what is in the worshippers heart.   Presented by Clayton Brooks & Drew O’Neal

Church Web Design & Podcasting – Druien Hall 2
What can you do to improve your church’s website?  Images, logos, announcements, branding, and media.  This session will help make your website workable and useable for your church’s specific needs.  Presented by Chris Wright & Josh McCoin

Print Publishing – Druien Hall 3
Bulletins. Bulletins.  What can you do with that all-important print piece that takes time and energy to make every week.  This session will show you how to make the bulletin more attractive and appealing for readers.  Presented by Emma Calvert & Mary Kate Young

Social Media Integration – Druien Hall 4
In our world, a church must be present on social media.  This session will explain how to integrate your vision, mission, purpose, and ministry on Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram in a way that honors Christ.  Presented by Jon Kattus & Devan Bishop

Sound & Lighting Design  – Ransdell Chapel
The sound system does not have to be a monster in the corner or the bully in the booth.  Learn from a professional sound technician how to make your sanctuary sound system sing.  Presented by Robert Bender