What is Student Ministry philosophy? It’s what guides our programming choices, our ministry focus, how we prepare our teaching, and it guides our volunteer leaders. The philosophy behind student ministry is the most important thing when it comes to thinking about how to do Youth Ministry in the Church. Should it be family focused? Will entertainment and pizza parties be the hook? Do we need a rock-star youth pastor who puts cool gel in his hair and knows the latest hip phrases and popular music?
Here are what I consider to be the most foundational elements that should guide student ministry within the Church: Student Ministry should be…
Theological. Apologetics. Scripture.
We are to think God’s thoughts after Him. Focus on training excellence in theological studies, scripture and apologetics. We want students to know the Scriptures. We want them to know how to study the Scriptures. We want to train them as theologians.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Relationship with God. With Peers. With Siblings. With Parents. With the Elderly. With Teachers. Small Groups.
Focus on equipping students with how to do relationships. Focus on equipping students with how to have a relationship with God. We want to feel what God feels. Focus on equipping parents to understand that students are most impacted by discipleship in the home.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… (James 4:8)
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)
Missions. Service. Evangelism. Outreach.
Focus on giving students opportunities to serve. We want students to understand other cultures. We want students to reach out with the love of Jesus to the needy, the poor, the marginalized, and the outcasts. We want to give them tools to witness and opportunities to bring their friends to see what Church is all about.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)
Be the Church. Get plugged in. Do teach. Do discuss. Be Leaders. Be Servants. Lead Small Groups. Lead in Prayer.
Students need to do, to lead. We want to focus on giving students opportunities to serve, lead peers, serve the elderly, serve young ones and be plugged into the Church not only because they are the Church of tomorrow but because they are the Church of today. We want students to discover their talents, spiritual gifts, personality and to understand how they can serve and fit into the local church.
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)
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
These are the pillars for thinking upon which student ministry must be built. These of course are just a big picture summary of a philosophy that could go into greater detail. Your foundation for student ministry might be different then mine, you might have ideas I haven’t thought of or strategies that make more sense than mine. If you have a moment and this article was helpful to you, why not comment below?