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The 4 Key Values of Our Student Ministry

Over the past several years we’ve begun to identify 4 key values that run throughout our entire student ministry. We want these four things to show up in our large group program on the weekend, in our small group program during the week and in all of our events, trips and even one-on-one interactions with students.

Want to know what they are? Glad you asked! Here are our 4, add yours in the comments section of this post, too!

Students have the uncanny ability to sniff out the least bit of inauthenticity. If you’re faking it … they know it. We want our large group time to be filled with failure stories and real-life transparency. We hope that our small groups are hitting on real topics that matter to students and that real-life is being shared in each group. We want students to know that they can “be who they are” without the need to put on a mask, put on a spiritual performance etc.

Our student ministry must be relationally strong. While programs are important, there is nothing better than one-on-one time with students. We want to share in relationships and be personally involved and invested in the life of the students God trusted to us. We value people over programs and do everything we can to constantly provide opportunities for relationships. Note: Relational ministry is easy at first, but as your ministry grows, it becomes tougher.  Don’t take relational youth ministry for granted.  It doesn’t always happen automatically!

One of the strongest advantages to youth ministry is the ability to relate the timeless truths of God to the teenage life. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “It’s a sin to bore teenagers with the gospel”.  Making relevance a key value helps ensure you never commit that particular sin! Being relevant doesn’t mean you have to be super trendy, know the latest Lady Gaga song by heart, or that you keep up with the Kardashians, it simply means you create ministry experiences that are relevant to the life of a teenager. Our ministry must matter to students and hit them where they live their life.

It is our hope that students walk into our youth room and breath a sigh of relief! That their shoulders would drop as the tension is released from their bodies. That the worries and pressures teenage life drop off them, even if only for an hour or two. We want the urgency in our steps, the pace of our conversations and the environment we create to be relaxed and unhurried in every way.

Like we talked about yesterday, you need to know why your ministry exists…that’s why a purposes or vision statement is important.  But you also need to know how you want your ministry to “feel”. That’s where values come in!

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Kurt Johnston has been involved in junior high ministry since 1988 and is currently the junior high pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of Controlled Chaos: Making Sense of Junior High Ministry and Go Team! He loves providing resources for junior high ministry almost as much as he loves junior highers themselves.