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Student Ministry Often Falls Short: Discover Some Reasons and Fixes

And don’t give the lame excuse that the church will fund teen ministry more when more students attend. That’s backward thinking. Fund the ministry first, giving it the resources to reach more kids.

3. We expect the youth pastor but not parents to lead student ministry. 

Nowhere does the Bible say to raise Christian kids by dropping them off at a weekly church event and leaving the rest to professionals. Yet we’ve created a culture where the student pastor (the professional) is expected to impart all the faith teenagers need without any extra help.

Perhaps we’ve forgotten that the church existed and thrived for hundreds of years without the modern invention of student pastors and teen ministry. They knew it wasn’t a pastor’s job to raise young men and women.

The primary person responsible for the spiritual well-being of a child is their parent. But instead of helping parents lead their teenagers in a growing walk with Jesus, we expect the student pastor and maybe a few volunteers to act as surrogate spiritual parents.

We must place more expectations on parents in our church. They need to take responsibility to raise their kids well (as the Bible teaches in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:4).

Thankfully, many churches today are shifting their thinking to begin partnering with parents. Unfortunately, this usually means they send only a weekly email or handout so parents know what kids learned.

That’s a start, but it’s not good enough. If we want to see a generation of young people become world-changers for Christ, the process has to start with parents at home.

Teen ministry (and children’s ministry, for that matter) should be a resource to help parents, not the sole source of spiritual formation.

The Bottom Line

Thankfully, despite all our flaws, Jesus is still using our mess to accomplish his mission.

Teen ministry isn’t all doom and gloom. Lots of amazing things are happening too. But come on, church. We can do better!

This article about teen ministry originally appeared here.