The beauty of reading is found in its ability to expand the mind, expose the idea and define the development of its given subject. Recently, I was handed a copy of As You Go written by Dr. Alvin Reid. As I perused the thought provoking text and practical guide to student ministry, I took note of seven ideas that should drive the heart of our student ministries.
In a time where everyone has a philosophy on student ministry, Reid takes a hard and honest look at the motive and focus of biblical, missional student ministry in the local church. This is not another student ministry book that you need to read when you get to it, it’s a book that goes to the top of the list, but make sure you grab a pen & carve out time to evaluate the health of your heart and student ministry.
1. Gadgets flattened the world and gimmicks have flattened our ministries.
Modern inventions have brought the world together in a way no one could have imagined or described a 100 years ago. As the civilization has grown closer, student ministries have increased their focus on short term, event driven methodology. When this happen we cultivate a generation of spiritually weak churchgoers who have no understanding of a gospel centered life.
2. Develop a culture where students are captivated by the gospel.
When the gospel drives every process, every event, every relationship and every sermon students begin to understand their life-dependency to the gospel. It means cultivating ministries where the gospel is not just what the student pastor rants on from stage but is the transforming work inside every aspect of ministry.
3. Think advancement not facilitation.
It is never the role of any pastor to facilitate the gospel or students; it is always about the advancement of the gospel in the lives of students and communities.
4. The gospel does not recognize a minimalist approach to ministry.
Students need to see that following Christ is more than showing up on Sunday, going on a mission trip and serving in wee-care. Christianity is about living out the whole mission of God in every moment and every stage of life. They do not need a simplistic version of gospel; they need all of it.
5. Missional living is a lens not a program.
Your students need to develop a lens in which they see everything through the eyes of the gospel.
6. Students are bored with our version of church.
The greatest mark of this generation of students is their desire to be a part of something big, and the only thing they see the church offering is a small service to the community. The only fix is for your students to understand that the greatest calling and satisfaction in their lives is to fully surrender to the mission of God, a full-on advancement of the gospel in every school and community they live in.
7. Idolatry is the greatest threat to you being a part of the mission of God.
The comfort of easy ministry, consumerism and apathy will keep you from experiencing the ultimate fulfillment in living out the mission you were created for.
“The church in America stands at a crossroads, and student ministry sits right in the crosshairs of the intersection…We have too often focused on the number of students at our last event than the impact we are making in their local public school. Students yearn for something real, something compelling. If the Christianity we demonstrate shows our faith to be more or less a place we check into on Sundays and do the minimum so we can go about our own little lives, no wonder we have a generation of dechurched young adults.” -Dr. Alvin Reid, As You Go