Do not separate the student ministry from the church.
A little more than a month ago, I wrote a blog called “3 Things Every Student Pastor MUST Do” which gained some attention and made waves in the student ministry blogosphere. It even was posted as a guest post on Josh Griffin’s website. In that post I shared three things I believe every student pastor must do in their ministry. As a sequel to that post, I want to share a few things I believe student pastors MUST NOT do.
1. Do not separate the student ministry from the church. We need to remember our student ministry is a part of the overall local church. Our student ministry should be placed under the authority and direction of the church. We are not called to build a “church of young people,” but we are called to serve students in the context of the local church. The more you separate students from the church, the harder it is for you to get them plugged into the local church. If they do not get plugged into the local church, they will abandon church altogether when they graduate from your youth group. They need to be plugged into the church, not just the student ministry. If a student pastor builds a student ministry that is separated from the local church, it becomes a parachurch ministry that holds many dangers (click here to see a post on the dangers of parachurch ministry).
2. Do not build inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Student pastors need to make sure they keep boundaries between themselves and the opposite sex. It seems like every time you turn around, you hear of a student pastor or a senior pastor being disqualified from ministry because of a situation including someone of the opposite sex. This is why I place Godly women on my leadership team. This allows me to focus on the guys when it comes to one-on-one interaction, and the ladies on my leadership team can focus on the girls.
3. Do not put student ministry before your walk with God and your family. Let’s face it: Student ministry is non-stop craziness. But student pastors need to learn how to put student ministry on hold so they can focus on their walk with God and time with their family. Student pastors must not sacrifice their relationship with God and their family on the altar of student ministry. It’s not worth it! Jesus will take care of His church and the ministry of it. He has called you to be a Christian first, husband/father second and a student pastor last. Recently, I read Brian Berry’s book As for Me and My Crazy House, which is a great book for this topic.
There are many more things I could write about what we in student ministry should not do, but these are the three that are most on my mind. Feel free to leave your thoughts and add to this small list. At the end of the day, student pastors need to make sure they are doing student ministry according to God’s Word. His Word will not only direct what we should do, but will also show us what we should not do.