Your students are dying to get off the bench and into the game.
Why is church is the only place students are required to simply "sit and listen". On school campuses students are involved in the school newspaper, sports team, band or color guard. They're given responsibility and asked to perform at the highest level.
At church? They're asked to sit, listen, learn and someday IN THE FUTURE make a difference. They're told they are the church of the future. Why is that? What are we afraid of?
Of course it takes a lot of time and energy to prepare students for ministry but the benefits of taking the time and energy to help students discover, develop and utilize their gifts in ministry are extraordinary.
You might want to dream about adding or ramping up student leadership in your student ministry.
Here are 3 questions to consider.
1. What can students do that you're currently doing?
The quick answer may be EVERYTHING, but you have to start somewhere.
What about coaching a student on how to give announcements at your ministry gathering? Do you have students who are interested in video? Maybe you should consider asking them to put announcements on video. Let them be creative.
Here's the point, if your students have little to no leadership involvement in your ministry think of a couple of areas they can serve and start there. From a prayer ministry to up front speaking, students can be coached to do incredible ministry.
2. What can you learn from students?
When is the last time you sat with a few key students and asked them what they love about their student ministry? If you don't ask them often if may be difficult for them to think that way.
By getting advice from students about their ministry consistently you learn a ton about how ministry is impacting students and you also create a great sense of ownership. As old people we shouldn't automatically assume we know what's going on in the hearts and minds of our students. It's a good idea to ask.
3. Why take the time, energy and risk when you can do it better yourself?
Ok, that's a loaded question. First and foremost I believe we have a Biblical mandate. If you're a student ministry pastor or youth director Paul says your responsibility is to "equip God's people for works of service".
That verse is usually reserved for adults, but Paul makes no distinction. Students are "God's people", therefore as pastors shouldn't we dream of ways we can prepare them to serve the church body and the world?
By the way, my experience is some students are far more gifted and effective than I am in certain areas of ministry (for some of you that's no surprise). As a youth pastor there is little more satisfying than seeing students excel and be used by God to serve.
So, please, please, please consider how to get students in the game. By developing a strategy that includes student leadership your ministry morale will increase, your discipleship will deepen and your entire church will benefit.
It's what God has called us to do.