The following are a few things to think about as you begin a new ministry.
Pray that God will give an OPERATING PHILOSOPHY to help you structure your ministry. Everyone needs some principals to help guide the points that God wants emphasized in a ministry. Below are some examples, and this list is by no means exhaustive. You will need to understand how God has wired you, what you are passionate about, and then find some philosophies that meet those core values.
- Jesus Focused Youth Ministry
- Purpose Driven Youth Ministry
- Family Ministry
- Missional Ministry
- Develop an end picture of what a disciple is. Get a vision of what kind of disciples you want to see “graduate” your ministry. Work on that picture and then work towards that goal of discipleship.
COMMUNICATION is key to a strong ministry. When people understand your vision, they are much more likely to understand why you do some of the things you do. Folks need to hear the vision. They need to know the details of your planning. Communication provides an opportunity to get involved and to foster relationships.
- Make an Email Group where you communicate weekly/bi-weekly with parents. Send them info, devotionals, articles.
- Work hard on gathering good contact info and set up a system for gathering that info
- Facebook page or Twitter acct where you can get some blurbs into the life of students
- Get plugged in to some good resources that will have articles/info for you to pass on that will greatly interest parents… Tim Elmore, Canon and Culture, CPYU, Richard Ross and a host of others.
- Make sure you are communicating with the pastor and the rest of the staff. It GREATLY benefits you for him to know what is happening.
This is probably the first step. Work on building RELATIONSHIPS.
- Family Ministry. As a student pastor, work on ministering to the family as a whole. Don’t just concentrate on the student.
- Get in students’ lives. Be at some of their activities. Look for any awards or accomplishments. Understand their interests.
- Take seriously pastoral care. Perhaps nothing will gain you more of a relationship than being there in a crisis – death/move/financial disaster/sickness.
- Network with other student pastors. You need to be with some others who are in the trenches. Those relationships will benefit you greatly as you learn and grow. These are the folks that can give ideas and feedback. These are the folks that can understand exactly what you are going through.
- Personal devotion time, pray over students/families. Of course your relationship with Christ is PRIORITY ONE. When you take your ministry to Him and take those that you shepherd to Him, by name, He gives spiritual insight. He gives heart and passion. He gives wisdom. He gives faith that He is in control.
No man is an island. A strong ministry will be built on TEAM. Even the Most Gifted discipled The Twelve. In order for ministry to multiply you will need others who share the vision and the load, others who are willing to disciple more.
- Communicate from beginning that all will be accomplished as a team
Once you understand some people who have a passion for students establish a Youth Ministry Team
- For decision making
- For planning
- For pouring into
- For feedback
- Lead through that team
Be a reader. You will grow as you know. Discover resources that can help you dream, plan, filter, inform, etc. Below are a few suggested BOOKS.
- Sticky Faith, Kara Powell
- As You Go, Alvin Reid
- Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, Doug Fields
- Engage, Mike Harder
- Family Ministry Field Guide, Timothy Paul Jones
- You Lost Me, David Kinnaman
- First Two Years in Youth Ministry, Doug Fields