Pastor of Granger Student Ministries (GSM)
Granger Community Church
Just recently I had an incredible opportunity within our church. During a series titled “Storytellers” where we were sharing vision with the whole church about some of the specific ministries, I had the privilege of teaching weekend services for the first time. With it being a weekend about the student ministry, it seemed to make sense that the student pastor would tackle it! I had a million different ideas on which way I could take things. I could…
- Layout the vision and intentionality of our student ministry
- Chastise the parents who invest more into their students travel water polo league than their faith development
- Highlight successes of the ministry and what is working
- Make a pitch for money towards a student building
- Share stories of real life change and growth in students
- Explain proper pick-up protocols for the end of a student event
Ok I may have thought honestly about some of those for a little too long, but in the end, I took this opportunity to share with the whole church the vision of our student ministry, highlighted successes in the ministry and shared student stories. It truly was an incredible weekend as some of our student worship leaders sang alongside the weekend team, students were used in the announcement video and we got to integrate recap videos from three of our largest events.
As I met with our lead pastor in preparation, I shared that I wanted our church to be inspired, encouraged and have a sense of pride and ownership in the student ministry. Whether they are a student, a parent or a member of the congregation with zero ties to a student, it was important to me that they experience those three things. That they would be inspired by the ministry that was taking place for students and that they would be encouraged by the stories of students following Jesus. I also wanted everyone in our church to have a sense of ownership and healthy pride in the student ministry, to know that their tithes and offerings, their prayers and their encouragement and love matter! But beyond that I wanted them to feel like it was their youth ministry because students are a part of their church today!
Now I’ll be the first to admit it. An entire weekend devoted to student ministry and telling stories of life change is about as much of a ‘gimme’ as there is for casting vision. But it got me thinking about what I’m doing at other times to wave the banner of student ministry. How am I as the student pastor inspiring our church with the ministry successes we are seeing in students? How am I encouraging the congregation with student’s stories? How am I helping everyone in the church feel ownership of the student ministry? How am I “leading up” to the senior and executive pastors with a posture of gratitude? How am I “leading across” to other ministry departments with encouragement? And in all this, how am I remaining humble and grateful, not feeding a prideful, territorial or bragging heart?
I realize that is a tall order for any of us to tackle amidst all our other responsibilities and there isn’t any silver bullet to accomplish all that, but moving forward I am committed to continuing to tell the stories. To tell stories of student’s who “get Jesus” for the first time, students who are living as a light in their schools and homes, students who are authentically learning to wrestle with their faith and students who are radically following Jesus today.
What stories do you see unfolding in your ministry and who can you share those with this week? Get out there and tell some stories!