My mom can cook better than your mom. Now I’m sure we all think this about our moms, at least I hope so… But seriously, my mom is a culinary ninja. I remember waking up Saturday mornings to her wearing an apron dusted in flour because she was making biscuits from scratch. She would have nothing to do with canned biscuits. Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a package of canned biscuits? It’s like a mile long. Sure, they’re quick. Sure, they taste fine. But deep in our hearts, we know that there is a better way to go. How many ingredients are in my mom’s biscuits? Five. Just five.
For the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to make a student ministry from scratch. My church is launching their very first multi-site and I have the privilege of being the Student Pastor. The first few weeks on the job I looked for a canned ministry that I could pop in the oven but I couldn’t find anything that would work. I can’t tell you how many emails and calls I made to other student pastors, how many churches I visited and websites I surfed. I spent countless hours looking for the ingredients of someone else’s biscuit. The recipes I found looked tasty but I couldn’t figure out how they were made. I came to the conclusion that there is not a canned student ministry. Why are we distracted by someone else’s programs, strategies and philosophies when they ultimately won’t work our context? If I was going to bake an effective ministry I needed to go back to basics. I needed to cook the way my mom taught me. Simple and made from scratch. Here are the five ingredients that must be found in every ministry:
A generous amount of the BIBLE.
Our ministries must be biblically focused. The Bible alone is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. Our best ideas are not. Therefore, we must base our preaching, teaching, ministry and counseling — everything — on God’s Word.
A bowl full of RELATIONSHIPS.
Our approach to discipleship needs to be relational. Life change doesn’t happen by simply transferring information. It happens by knowing and being known. We want our students to move from being spectators to being personally-engaged followers of Christ. Students need to connect with people, not programs.
A dash of MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES.
Our gatherings, events and experiences must be memorable. Whether it’s unforgettable because it was powerful, unique, meaningful, convicting or funny, our aim is always to offer the very best to our students. We want to draw them back (along with their friends) because we have the greatest news in the world to offer them!
A big scoop of UNITY.
We need to remind ourselves that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Our student ministries exist within a church. We need to make decisions and plan in a way that unites with the church at large. If your student ministry is teaching a different gospel or pursuing a different vision, stop cooking and throw your dough away. Ask your senior pastor or elders to critique your recipe.
Season everything in PRAYER.
Apparently it’s rude to season your food before you taste it. Pray through every big decision you make. No matter how stressed or anxious you are, pray about it. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Prayer is our direct pipeline to the Living God. Don’t make the mistake of serving your biscuit without seasoning it first.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Johnny-Farr.png[/author_image] [author_info]Johnny Farr works in youth ministry at Christ Chapel Bible Church in Forth Worth, TX. He is in the process of launching a student ministry for a new multi-site! Follow Johnny on Twitter: @JonathanLFarr