Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Why Student Ministry Is Failing in Most Churches

Why Student Ministry Is Failing in Most Churches

And don’t give the lame excuse I’ve heard so many times before that the church will fund the ministry more when more students come.

That’s backward thinking.

Fund the ministry first and give it the resources to reach more students.


Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the way to raise Christian kids is to drop them off at their weekly church event and leave the rest to the professionals.

But we’ve created a culture where the student pastors (the professional) is expected to impart all the faith a teenager needs without any extra help.

Perhaps we’ve forgotten that the church existed and thrived for hundreds of years without the modern invention of the student pastor and teen ministry.

They knew that 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 their surrogate spiritual parents.

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

Thankfully, many churches today are beginning to shift their thinking to begin partnering with parents.

Unfortunately, this usually means that they only send a weekly email or a paper handout, so parents know what they learned.

It’s a start, but it’s not good enough.

If we ever want to see a generation of young people raised to be world-changers for Christ, it will have to start with their parents at home.

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

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

It’s not all doom and gloom. There are a lot of amazing things happening in student ministries too.

But come on church, we can do better!

This article about teen ministry originally appeared here.

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Brandon has been on a ten-year journey to become the best preacher he can possibly be. During this time, he has worked in churches of all sizes, from a church plant to some of the largest and fastest growing churches in the United States. Brandon writes his thoughts and ideas from his journey at ProPreacher.com.