Recently, I was asked for my philosophy of ministry specifically regarding students. I thought I’d share it here as well.
We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 (HCSB)
Student ministry requires a transparency that breaks down barriers. This is most often accomplished through humor and story, but even more importantly through relationship. Students are accustomed to putting up barriers in order to protect themselves from relational pain with their parents, their friends, boys and girls, etc. By being open and authentic, those barriers are removed and students often find themselves sharing struggles, and opening themselves up to the healing power of Christ.
Atmosphere of Acceptance
Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Anyone who hears should say, “Come!” And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the living water as a gift. Revelation 22:17 (HCSB)
I believe in a “no-flinch” policy, meaning that I try to make students feel as comfortable, safe, and loved as possible regardless of their circumstances or “secrets.” This has been a personal philosophy of mine since I began student ministry, and one of the values that I try to instill in the group as a whole. In doing so, it has been my experience that the church becomes a place where any student can come and not feel ashamed, condemned, judged, or out of place. And while we never condone sin, we welcome all students to come as they are while discovering who He is.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (HCSB)
I believe that the student ministry of a church should not solely be the ministry of the church to the students in the community, but also the combined ministries of the students in the church to the community in which they live.
What’s your philosophy of ministry?