There are certain duties (I said duty) that come along with the "job" of student pastor. And to be honest, if this was just a job, some things would be no more than just a pain in the butt. For me, those things look like administrative tasks. I am a relational person that needs human interaction and thrives in social environments. Other guys I know are the exact opposite of that. The point is...there are things about the "job" of student pastor that are not my strong points, but still have to be done. There are things about the "job" that are right in my sweet spot and do not even feel like work.
But the fact that God called me to this ministry changes the whole scope of things. It is imperative that all parts of the job be done in order for me to fully answer the calling God has placed on my heart to minister to students. Whether or not it's what I'm "good at" or what I "want to do" makes no difference. I must continue to grow and mature in Christ, and allow Him to lead me in ministry.
Truthfully...there is a lot of laziness in student ministry today. And sadly enough...I'm not talking about the kids, I'm talking about student pastors. It seems that more and more, guys are using student ministry to get where they really want to go. I know guys that barely even teach the kids they've been called to lead. Plugging in a video or pushing the majority of teaching responsibilities onto volunteers is not leadership....it's laziness. Sure there are volunteers that are great teachers...even better than the youth pastor...I have some here....and they should be empowered and given the opportunity to exercise that gift. But don't use that as an excuse to not teach the students in whom God has entrusted you.
As with any ministry, there are students who are still craving and needing spiritual milk, but there are also those who are ready for more solid food. It is our calling that directs us to help them grow and mature. It is our calling that says....lead. And when we reject that calling by devising the plan of least resistance, or least discomfort, we risk stunting the spiritual growth of those we've been entrusted to lead.
And those that are seeking will either find another place to eat, or walk away from the table. When either happens, it's very easy to blame someone else or accuse the student and/or family of church hopping, being non-committed, etc....but where does the blame actually fall?
There are many methods, schedules, and approaches to student ministry, but laziness cannot be a part of our approach. We must teach and empower students for the years ahead. That cannot be done in 15 minutes a week and a couple of videos. It cannot be done by simply looking for the latest, greatest fad and force feeding it to your group. It takes prayer, relationships, communication, and work. Student pastors.....God has gifted each of you with unique gifts and abilities. We are to use them and continue to get better at teaching and mentoring students. Our relationships with students should go well beyond the years they are in our buildings. Our words and actions should stick and the relationships continue well beyond their student ministry years, and into adulthood.
The person who signs your paycheck hired you to do what God called you to do. Thank God for calling you and actually giving you the opportunity to do it for a living, and then work daily to answer the call. Do not get lazy in your teaching, preparation, and relationships and then look to blame someone else, or God himself for those issues.
It is a privilege serving God and actually getting to do it as a vocation. God has afforded me the opportunity to make a lot of friends over the years through His calling on my life. To cut off relationships based on geographic location would be asinine, and not in keeping with a kingdom minded, Christ centered way of doing ministry. My prayer for student ministries and student pastors around the globe is that we would stop looking for the easy way, and start looking for the right way. The fact is...the more people speaking truth into our student's lives; the more effective we become in our calling to reach kids. As a parent...I need as many adults as I can get speaking into my kid's lives. As a student pastor.....I refuse to compete with other ministries, and/or feel guilty for loving kids and ministering to families that may not be coming to my building on Sundays. That's my calling, not my job.
I'll save the competition for Monday night softball games and fantasy football.