If you are in a position where you can choose the direction of your student ministry and help guide it, this can be one of the most rewarding and sometimes frightening places to be. You feel the weight of shepherding this ministry you have been entrusted with. In the proper frame of mind, this will cause you to listen, pray, and spend time with the Lord. Sure, there are egomaniacs out there, bent on running the ministry in the way they see fit with little guidance outside of their own minds, but hopefully this is not the common case.
These decisions are sometimes large ones (what programs or services you will offer, vision of your ministry, etc) and sometimes small ones (stage designs, to have donuts or not to have donuts, etc). Some people think through every decision, while other people have more of a “Hey, whatever!” mentality, I find myself in the former camp.
This fall I was working on restructuring our small groups and finding ways for our teaching to coincide with them. In the past, our small groups had been some what autonomous in their teaching, with leaders picking different studies they found intriguing. I wanted to streamline this process, focus in on Scripture more, and really dig into certain passages to help them stick in their mind. Side note: I believe that students will not remember much of what I say in my sermons five years from now (maybe five minutes?), but if I can teach them to study and understand their Word, then this is something they will carry with them for the rest of their life.
I started to feel that I wanted my students to really grasp the Gospel of Jesus in a holistic way. If Jesus is the central figure of Scripture, our Redeemer and Salvation, then I wanted my students to grasp His life and hopefully fall deeper in love with Him. I started to feel pulled towards teaching exegetically through a Gospel and I naturally started to look towards Mark. I say “naturally” because I love the flow of Mark and the straight forward nature of it. A professor at seminary had opened my eyes to Mark in a profound way, and I’ve never thought of it the same since then.
This was a big undertaking though, it meant over four months in the book of Mark to teach it adequately in the way I wanted to. It meant not teaching through some of our regular fall series. What if the students got tired of going through the same book? What if staying in the same chapter all week long meant they would check out of groups? I know these may seem silly to you, but these were my thoughts.
I trudged forward with Mark in spite of my doubts, we are three weeks away from finishing, and it has been an awesome Spirit-led decision. I devoured books and studies on Mark. We didn’t skip over the difficult parts of Mark, but tackled them head on. We asked tough questions and didn’t shy away from God’s truth. Our students have come to grasp the life of Jesus in a way they never have before. They read ahead to get a better picture of what’s coming up. When students have gotten saved over the past few months, I tell them to read Mark, knowing that we have a group of students that can walk and guide them through their readings. It has helped to galvanize our ministry and the adults are learning a lot too.
All of this to say, don’t be afraid to teach God’s Word. Don’t be afraid in student ministry to engage the Word in a deep and meaningful way. Make it fun and ask the tough questions. Our students have gotten the most out of the misunderstood passages like the Rich Young Ruler. God’s Word will change you and your ministry. God’s Word is awesome…
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/BrandonWeir.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”