“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”. – 1 Timothy 4:12
Whether you agree with the March for our Lives or not, that is not the point of this post. The point and challenge of this post is quite simple – our students are capable of doing more on a regular basis. That is what this March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018 showed us. These were students who have “had enough” of what is going on and decided to take action. As a father of 4, I was encouraged that this happened because it showed Student Ministers that students can and will do more if they choose to.
So how can Student Ministers give them more? Here are a few ideas:
- Create a Student Leadership Team. Students want to lead. Help those who want to lead, lead and serve in your student ministry. A student leadership team can look a variety of different ways, there is no set formula that works in all situations. So whether you have an application process or just invite all who want to serve and lead in your student ministry, simply creating a place for those student leaders to come together and help support the student ministry and also lead out of their passions, can go a really long way to giving students on outlet to become more involved.
- Give students more opportunities to give input. You may not be able to create a Student Leadership Team. That is ok. However, you can still give students opportunities to give their input and share their thoughts about the student ministry at your Church. It can be a survey, or a regular “town hall” meeting or something else entirely. Whatever way you can think of to give students input, use it. The key is then taking that input and doing something with it. If all you do as a student minister is collect input and never do anything with it, students will
- Make outreach and service a key cog in your ministry. Even though they may not admit it if just randomly asked to serve and give, but students want to give. They want to help. They just want to give to causes they are passionate about as well. Now, some causes won’t line up exactly with a Church’s or student ministry’s vision or cause, but there could be some overlap and there could be some commonality. If you have students on a Leadership Team or giving input regularly, you can find out those passions and develop outreach and service opportunities that they will want to be apart of, help lead and attend. Give your students a vision of serving the community and world and making a difference and I am convinced that students will rally behind it and help lead it.
On March 24th I saw two really encouraging actions. I saw teens doing something they are passionate about and I saw parents really encouraged and proud of their children for taking action.
Students really do want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. And what can be better than getting involved in the local Church and a student ministry that is making a difference. I have found that whenever you give students more opportunities for input and growth in our student ministries they are more involved. Why is that? Because they have more invested. If they are just coming to get entertained and talked to, they have less interest. We can give them more.
In the same way, parents want their children involved in making a difference. I saw so many parents post about how very proud they were of their kids participating in the March for our Lives. Again, whether you agree with it or not is not the point here. The reality is when students are passionate about something and takes action it not only inspires students but it encourages adults and parents. They get excited about their children and teens participating in something bigger than themselves. When we give students more, parents are more likely to get interested and invest.
As I said in the beginning, our students are capable of doing more. They can take a more active role in our student ministries. They really can. The question is will you give it to them?
What do you think? How have you seen students getting involved and offering input helped your student ministry? Share your thoughts below or on social media using #ymsidekick.