So I’m continuing this series about my Student Ministry journey this last year. Before you make any judgements or get upset, you can read my disclaimer here. I’m just a Kidmin guy who is leading an entire NextGen ministry and making observations.
Yesterday I wrote how I believe that if more Student Pastors led like Children’s Pastors, they’d be more successful. They’d be able to grow their ministries larger as they’ll be leading more effectively through a team of both staff and volunteers leaders as opposed to just one or a handful of people doing all the heavy lifting. Again, I’m not meaning to stereotype and please don’t think I’m painting broad strokes. I do know many Student Pastors how are very successful leaders. However, many of those same Student Pastors hace assured me that the stereotype is true.
I’m not sure if this is a trend or not, but I do know of a handful of large churches (more than 5000) who searched for a Student Pastor and gave up or put the search on hold because they were discouraged that the leader they were looking for didn’t exist. Obviously there are some out there doing it, but there is by no means an over-abundance of these high-capacity leaders who are knocking it out of the park. What I’ve seen in more than one church is a decentralization in leadership… where Student Pastors and Children’s Pastors are not being hired. Instead, a NextGen team is being put together of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School and College leaders… all being led by a Family Pastor or NextGen Pastor. Just something I’ve seen popping up more often in recent years.
However, today I want to write about something entirely different. Yes, I’ve been frustrated at the leadership direction and capacity I’ve seen in a lot of Student Ministries, but… I really never knew the relational capacity and cost that so many Student Pastors pay. OH. MY. GOODNESS. I’ve just gotten a small taste of it, but I’m convinced that most of the church staff has no idea what is involved in leading students and the heavy responsibility that Student Pastor’s carry. The world of Middle School and High School are totally messed up. Family situations are horrific. I’m concerned that the “new normal” is one of the most dysfunctional things I’ve ever seen. To effectively minister to these kids takes tens of hours… often on a weekly basis. Student Ministries REQUIRES a volunteer team that can dedicated dozens of hours. It’s not a volunteer position… it’s a lifestyle. I must admit, I was shocked. The respect level of Student Pastors shot up through the roof for me.
So, on the other side of things, I think that Kidmin can learn a thing or two from our Student Ministry leaders. Often times Kidmin spend precious time trying to figure out whether they have volunteers serve weekly, every other week or once a month and the truth is, our kids and families need far more than we’re serving up. Far more. I’m still thinking this through, but I feel that some of this extra time really needs to be in investing in parents… equipping them. I’m just not sure what this looks like in a realistic model, I’m just reflecting on what I’ve seen.
I’ll wrap up my adventures tomorrow, but I might have to sneak in 2-3 posts to get it all in.