Tag: Student Ministry

Introducing #iamnextgen

This week is my sixth Orange Conference. I look forward to this event every year for many reasons and it seems like the reasons change every year. In past years it been because of strategy I was hoping to learn. In other years it was the community I was looking to experience. Last year it was the answers to two or three critical questions. This year it’s a totally new reason.

This year I’m filled with excitement about the NextGen/Family Ministry networking that will be taking place. Last year Orange took a step toward connecting this group of people through a breakout track. This year Orange is taking a giant leap into NextGen networking. There will be ample opportunities to NextGen/Family Ministry leaders to connect, learn and grow from one another. There are very specific breakouts, networking parties, conversation opportunities and more. There are even more opportunities in the works for this community after Orange… very cool. Six years ago when I attended Orange for the first time, I was just starting my role at Gateway as the NextGen Pastor. I only knew of 3-4 people who were in a similar role. Now there are hundreds and I know there is so much we’re going to be able to learn from one another.

Since the NextGen Pastor doesn’t really have a place to connect, this week I’m launching a place for the conversation to live. This week you’ll see the birth of #iamnextgen. If you want to connect to others in this role and take part in the ongoing conversation about all things NextGen/Family Ministry, tweet and follow the hashtag #iamnextgen.

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The secret to success in ministry

My good friend Sam Luce wrote a great post last week about adult ministry. He’s been a campus pastor now for more than a year and he’s discovered something interesting. When it comes to leading kids or leading adults, the thing that’s going to make you successful in either one has less to do with unique factors to the particular age groups and more to do with your ability to exhibit leadership. Read his “Why leading adults is the same as leading kids” here.

I want to piggy back off what he wrote here, because I believe he is 100% on to something. Last year I was fully immersed in leading the student ministry at Gateway Church. Within a few weeks, I learned a similar truth. 80% of student ministry is no different from leading children’s ministry. Leading and caring for your volunteers and leaders is the most important thing and the better you do that, the more successful you’ll be. I will never claim to be anywhere near an expert on student ministry, and I’ll not admit that I did a bang up job leading our student ministry last year, but I did recognize some of these truths. In hiring staff for any position, I’d look for their ability to lead far above their expertise to be the big personality on stage. Sure, that may be important, but leadership is key.

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Gateway’s new Student Pastor

Last week I wrote extensively about my adventures of leading a student ministry for the last year. I also shared what I was looking for in a new Student Pastor. So, I thought I’d take just a minute and introduce him with the community here. Three weeks ago, I hired Chris Parker as the new Student Pastor for Gateway Church and I’ve never been so excited. I’m excited to pass the mantle of responsibility for sure, but I’m excited for what NextGen ministry at Gateway is going to look like in the coming years.

Chris Parker is a young buck, which has many advantages. Being in his early twenties, he will easily bring a younger perspective than I could being in my mid-thirties. It also creates a great environment as I feel that we’re intentionally investing in the next and younger generation of leaders at Gateway. I feel that it’s important that we not just grow old as a church, but we continue to hire and invest in younger leadership.

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What kind of Student Pastor was I looking for?

I spent more than a year looking for a Student Pastor. Over that year-long journey, I sifted through about 300 resumes. It probably should have been more because we marketed this position in bursts. I’m also kind of one-tracked at times and when I was chasing down one particular candidate, I went into a holding patter with all the other candidates.

So why did it take so long? I think it was because I was looking for an extremely rare candidate. I knew going into it that this was probably going to take a long time. I’ve been serving along-side Student Pastors for well over a decade and honestly, I’ve only seen this type of Student Pastor one or two times. So, let me tell you what I was looking for.

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Adventures in Student Ministry: Part 3

So I’ve been writing about my Student Ministry Adventure over the past year (read my disclaimer on the linked page). Yesterday I wrote about the one aspect that I feel Student Ministry does better than any other ministry. Feel free to take a minute and catch up.

One of the beautiful things I’ve really enjoyed seeing in Student Ministry this last year is the high number of young men and women who are attracted to serve in Student Ministry. I think that Student Ministry has a “twenty year-old” magnet. I love young leaders and volunteers. I’d be curious to run a report to see the demographics, but I’d be willing to bet that less than 20% of the volunteers in our Kidmin are in their 20’s or younger, but the number of 20’s and younger in the Student Ministry is closer to the 40-50%. I love young leaders and volunteer. However, I’ve seen both the positive and negative  sides of young leadership this year.

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Adventures in Student Ministry: Part 2

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.

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Adventures in Student Ministry: Part 1

Yesterday I posted about my journey of hiring a student pastor. I’ll say right now that I’m incredibly grateful to have someone coming in to take the reigns. I’m not sure I was built for Student Ministry. Ha! It’s a different animal all together for sure. However, I did want to write a little about what I experienced this last year. Children’s Ministry and Student Ministry seem to be worlds apart most of the time and I think it’s incredibly important that they become a little more in sync. So I hope to write about some of the things I’ve learned for everyone’s benefit.

Disclaimer: I’m sure that this post and some of the following posts will frustrate or make some people angry. If that is you, I think you’re reading into my posts. Understand the context please, I do love student ministry. However, my viewpoint is going to be fresh eyes from an outside perspective looking in. Also, please don’t think that I believe that we have everything together in kidmin, because that’s not the case either. Also, I understand that there are stereotypes and I’m certainly not making sweeping judgements about the entire industry. So, if you’ve got a bone to pick with me about anything I write, send me a message through my contact form and I promise, I’ll make it right. 🙂

Well, only about 2 months into my role in leading the student ministry here at Gateway, I learned that Student Ministry is far more like Kidmin than I thought. Sure, there are significant differences in the way that ministry is carried out in the lives of teenagers, but at the core of the ministry, the structure and strategy, the two can be nearly identical. However, I think that this is where things fall apart.

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Hiring a student pastor takes time

Well, I just ended a year-long search for a student pastor. The journey wasn’t for the faint of heart. Still being somewhat new in my role, it was the first time I’ve ever hired a student pastor. My world is and always has been Children’s Ministry, so I won’t kid you into thinking that I’m any kind of expert. However, I’ve been in ministry long enough to know what I was looking for and when I wrote down my criteria, I knew that I was in for a lengthy search.

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Dallas Orange Tour!

I’m pumped! Tomorrow I leave for Dallas for the Dallas Orange Tour. This year I’m taking about 24 volunteers and staff. This year I’m actually bringing more student ministry volunteers than those in kidmin. For...

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