Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders 3 Ways to Stay Spiritually Healthy in Youth Ministry

3 Ways to Stay Spiritually Healthy in Youth Ministry

Awhile back, I wrote a post
 where I explained that the most important part of student ministry 
is the student pastor or student ministry volunteer’s own relationship
 with God. Everything we do in student ministry is second to our 
relationship with God. The most important thing a student pastor or
 volunteer can do is make sure their own relationship with God is

A few weeks ago, we did a training day for all of our
 student ministry volunteers across all of our campuses. In my 
session on being faithful to God, I said, “The effectiveness of 
your ministry to students depends on the health of your 
relationship with God.” I believe that in order for student pastors 
and volunteers to be effective in student ministry, they must have a
 growing, healthy relationship with God. In his book, YourFirst
 Two Years in Youth Ministry, Doug Fields says,
“Without spiritual health, you won’t make it in student
 ministry. Don’t misunderstand: You don’t need the knowledge of a
 Bible scholar or the spiritual disciplines of a monk, but you do 
need a heart that’s tender toward God and open to His leading. You
 need to be in love with Jesus.”

So how can a student 
pastor or volunteer make sure they maintain a healthy relationship 
with God? In the busyness of life and ministry, what can we do to
 make sure we are growing and walking with our Savior? Here are 
three things I believe every student pastor and volunteer must do 
in order to maintain a healthy relationship with God while doing
 student ministry.

1. Love Christ
 supremely. Many times, our relationship with God
 starts to become unhealthy because we love ministry more than Him. We believe we have a healthy relationship with God because we are 
serving faithfully in student ministry and giving all our time and 
energy to ministering to students. However, when student ministry
 starts to become the thing that you love most, and all your time,
 energy and passion goes toward it, then it’s probably an idol.
 It’s coming before God and starting to take the place of Him. We 
must always keep our love and passion for Jesus first. It must come
 before everything, including student ministry. Doug Field says,
“Don’t allow increasing ministry to decrease your
 intimacy, and don’t let your service exceed your 
worship.” The best thing you can do for your
 students and ministry is to love Jesus more than both of them.

2. Spend time with God daily in His Word and
 prayer. The second thing we must do to maintain
 a healthy relationship with God in student ministry is committing to 
daily Bible reading and time in prayer. These are two spiritual
 disciplines we cannot afford to live and serve without. I’m always
 amazed at how many student pastors and volunteers neglect having a
 personal time with God on a daily basis. In order to be consistent 
in these two disciplines, you will need to find two things. First,
 you need a good place. Set aside a consistent time and place where
 you can read God’s Word and pray. This may be in the morning, it
 may be at lunch, or may be at night. Find the time and place that
 works best for you. Second, you need a good tool. I encourage our
 volunteers to use an ESV Study Bible and Word of Life’s Online QuietTime. Get what you need to make spending time with God
 each day a priority (click here to read more about having a consistent time with God 
each day).

3. Be a part of the local church
 community. Lastly, student pastors and volunteers 
must be a part of the community of their local church. I encourage
 my volunteers to be faithful to three things regarding community.
 First, they need to be faithful to weekend worship services. I
 talked to one volunteer from another church who hasn’t sat in a 
worship service for over three years! Serving in the student ministry
 was always taking the place of being in a worship service. Second, 
they need to be a part of a community group. If your church does
 Sunday school, then they need to be in a class. Whatever your
 church does to provide deeper community outside worship services,
 volunteers and student pastors need to be a part of it. Third, they need to have accountability. These are three things student
 pastors and volunteers must commit to in order to maintain a 
healthy relationship with God in student ministry. What are some 
other ways you stay healthy spiritually as you serve in student