If I could sit every student in every church down in one room and give a challenge, these words below would be included. Students in today’s church are in desperate need of wisdom, guidance, and encouragement. This list below contains seven things students should know in the church.. There can be several additions. If you have any, please don’t hesitate to message. I pray this encourages all involved in leading student ministries for the local church.
What Students Should Know In The Church…
1. You are part of the church, not a youth group. The tragic tendency in many churches is to have separate ministry islands or empires within the church. Students should know their involvement goes far above an exciting student ministry program. They are connected to the church. Mark Cannister writes, “Transformation happens most deeply in the lives of teenagers when they are engaged in the broader life of the church” (Adoptive Youth Ministry, edited by Chap Clark). Students should know they are part of something greater than a student ministry. They are the church.
2. Your loyalty in the church belongs to Jesus, not any leader. It is quite common for students to closely connect with a youth leader. This is not a bad thing. In fact, this is what youth leaders long for in their pursuit for developing disciples of Jesus. However, it is dangerous when students flock to a leader more than to a Savior. Student ministers and leaders, point to Jesus as the hero. Hold the spotlight for your teens to see Jesus.
3. You need to bring your Bible with you to church. This is an ongoing problem with every student ministry across the planet. With the invention of smart phones and tablets, students have quick access to the Word of God. At the same time, students will also have access to unnecessary distractions. Consider me old fashioned, but there is something beautiful about bibles opened, pages turned, notes made in the unchanging truth of God.
4. You need involvement in a small group bible study with your peers. I’m not against family worship or family bible study. I believe it is important and imperative for the life and unity of the church. However, if offered, students must take the opportunity to connect with their peers in small group. Students mixing with adults in a bible study format will experience separation and connection. Adults and students bring different needs and desires in the context of small groups. It can be in small group when transformation takes place. Walls can be broken. Hearts can be opened. Truth can resonate. Accountability can be received. Small groups are vital in the life and health of students in the church.
5. You need to serve somewhere in the church. Stop sitting on your rears! It is time to serve. Stop waiting to be served. In every church across the planet, there are opportunities for service. These roles do not belong to adults, but for anyone willing to make much of Jesus. The best way to begin serving is simply asking good questions. Look, ask, respond, and act. When the church experiences students serving, joy is increased and respect is given.
6. You need to be involved in missions. If you belong to Jesus, you are a messenger for Jesus. Churches are strengthened when witnessing teens share their faith. This does not mean 1 week out of the year, away from home. Missions exist daily in the lost world around us. Students taking what is learned and gained from the church and sharing the Gospel outside the church will experience the growth of the church.
7. You must participate in worship with the church. Worship for teenagers often carries a different understanding. For many, this involves loud music, crazy lights, energetic messages, gripping videos, and tons of social media pics following. Worship is far beyond a student movement or gathering. Worship is most beautiful when the church gathers to exalt the risen name of Jesus…together! Some songs and styles change from Wednesday nights to Sunday mornings. Christian maturity grows when students realize the style doesn’t lead the experience, but rather the Spirit. If a song doesn’t catch your attention, just listen and read the words. Take good notes from your pastor. Avoid talking. Discuss what happened with your family after the service concludes. Churches need to see their students worship.
Students need the church.
The church needs students.
Soli Deo Gloria,