I spent years as a student ministry participant, volunteer, and pastor. So I have lots of experience leading in the teen ministry trenches. I began as an idealistic young man. My plan was to love Jesus, love students, and serve God to the best of my abilities.
But the daydream ended fast. I had no idea the biggest opposition in student ministry would come from within the church. Unless you’ve been there, you’ll never understand a student pastor’s burden and why many don’t last long.
Not all student ministries in America are failing or falling short. But I’m afraid it’s a growing problem. I’ve heard from a lot of youth leaders who feel the same.
Here’s the big problem: Most churches either don’t value student ministry enough or value the wrong things. And because of this, far too many young people abandon the church after graduation.
Although we could debate the statistics, the fact is simple. Most student ministries see more kids falling away after graduation than remaining in the faith.
3 Difficulties of Student Ministry
I believe three major problems have led to the failing state of student ministry in most U.S. churches:
1. We measure growing crowds, not disciples.
We don’t evaluate the effectiveness of the spiritual education of teenagers. All we value is the numbers.
I’ve seen youth pastors with no biblical education regularly take the Bible out of context (bordering on heresy). Yet they get promoted just because they’re good with people and can draw a crowd. Is that the goal? Is that why churches should have student ministry?