6 Resolutions for the New (Student Ministry) Year
By Chris Maxwell
No, it’s not Christmastime in the city. The snow isn’t falling. You aren’t stringing up lights. The sun is hot, and the days are long. And you don’t have to worry about writing “2015” instead of “2014” for a few more months.
But in the world of student ministry, we’re fast approaching the New Year. Programs and ministries are stretching out the kinks from their downtime over the summer. As students return to the regularity of the school calendar, you’re busy planning your own. Are you relieved of a year’s conclusion and joyful of a new adventure? Are you hopeful to keep some church-momentum going, or are you praying a new season might trigger a new vision? Before things get too busy, take some time to do what you’d normally do on January 1: make some resolutions for the new year of student ministry.
- Evaluate your prayer life. How are your conversations with God? This isn’t about improving the quality of your messages. This isn’t a ten-step formula for guiding students’ spiritual formation. It’s about you and God. You talking to him. You listening to him. Strive to work on an ongoing, regular dialogue with the One you say your life depends upon.
- Take care of yourself. How is your health? Spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally? Think about these goals for the coming school year before jumping to care for a group of students and volunteers: eat better, exercise more, sleep longer.
- Consider talking to a counselor. As you honestly evaluate number two, you might realize seeing a doctor would be wise. Do it—soon. It might also be wise to begin seeing a professional counselor. Talk to someone safe. Don’t hold the church burdens inside or toss them onto your family. Life is tough enough for them already. Even when they say they want to know, love them too much to make them the only outlet for your burdens. Talk to a counselor.
- Do something non-churchy. If church events are all there is to your life, add new experiences this year. Don’t we believe biblical church is more than buildings and rituals and days of the week? We should also believe relationship with God is more than preparation and offices and meetings with students. Everything we do should be influenced by God at our center. So go places you’ve stopped going. Try a new skill. Go to the ball game, the concert, the dinner, the book, the magazine, the not-going-to-the-office-at-all day. Learn how to play an instrument. Attend a conference that says nothing about church. Don’t just talk about churches needing to step outside the box. Do it yourself.
- Ask your senior pastor to be just that—a pastor. Trust me, you need one. Yes, you should have a counselor and a doctor, maybe a life coach or consultant or mentor. You need friends, dedicated adult volunteers, and team players for your ministry. But you also need a pastor—that person to serve you and offer true pastoral care. And it’s easy to see your senior pastor as only a boss. If you don’t think you can have a true pastoral relationship with the senior pastor at your own church, look elsewhere.
- Don’t just facilitate. Speaking of pastoral care, is that a priority in your job and your role? No matter what your official title is, you have an opportunity to pastor students. Don’t get too caught up in the role of facilitator. Students need someone to be there for them. Someone with two ears and two eyes, but only one mouth. If you aren’t that person, admit it. Fill your student ministry with staff who can serve in pastoral roles. People don’t only need organizers and directors. They need pastors to talk through their spiritual development, their questions, their joy, and their pain.
Maybe your resolutions need to look different. But don’t waste this opportunity to start on the right foot. Set yourself up to have a happy new year of student ministry.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More