There are so many myths regarding student ministry and student pastors. I wrote a post about the five myths of youth pastors. You can view the post here. This post is about the myths of student ministry.
Student ministry has a stigma about it. I can remember when I first went into student ministry seven years ago:
- Student Ministry is 100 percent FUN—Most people only notice the fun in youth ministry. They notice the amusement parks, the mission trips, the camps, the games, the activities and the overnighters. One thing that rarely gets portrayed in student ministry is the difficult side of it. Teens are going through the most awkward time of their lives. They also are facing some of the most rebellious challenges from peers that they will face in their lives. Youth pastors have to discipline teens. Youth pastors have to counsel kids going through horrible and undeserved circumstances. Some of these reasons are likely the reason that the average youth pastor stays at a church only two years. Instead of always noticing the fun youth pastors can have with their students, thank them for the rough times in student ministry as well.
- The Student Ministry cannot impact the church—Many view the student ministry as a ministry that cannot impact the entire church. The student ministry can impact the church as a whole. Students can serve the church. Students can be involved in leadership within the church. Ultimately, students can impact the health and direction of the local church.
- All problems within the church start in the Student Ministry—When things in the church go missing, most blame the student ministry. When a church van is dirty or broken, most blame the student ministry. When things get out of control and rowdy, many blame the student ministry. Look, I have been in student ministry for a long time, and not all problems originate in the student ministry. What I have found is that some adults can be just as messy as our students. Students cannot stand being considered the originator of all of the church problems.
- The Student Ministry is not important—Ultimately, it is the myths above that lead some to come to the conclusion that student ministry is not important. Student ministry is important. In fact, student ministry is partially responsible for shaping the direction of the next generation (obviously the parents are the primary responsibility for this). In many ways, you could argue that student ministry and kids ministry are the two most important ministries in the local church.
So let’s stop viewing the student ministry from these myths, and start viewing it as a valuable, important and integral piece in the health of the local church.