If you are not on the middle or high school campus, you are a Diet Youth Pastor
I didn't say you weren't a Youth Pastor. I said you are a Diet Youth Pastor. Light. No Calories. And certainly not having the impact you could have on your region.
A Youth Pastor is to students like a coach is to athletes. Think about it. A Youth Pastor must love the schools, like a coach must love the gym. It's kind of like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Batman and Robin. One without the other just doesn't seem right.
Now, I know that I risk being judgmental and critical toward part-time or volunteer Youth Pastors. I get that. Please hang on, and read further. I will say that I'm not concerned about the full-time Youth Pastors. They have bigger issues if they do not have a presence on campus. However, because most of the ministry in the church is done with these part-time and volunteer type of youth leaders, I want to help with some practical steps to transform your youth ministry into a contextualized setting. This simply means that you are ministering in your context. The youth culture.
The youth culture would be the places where teens are. Homes, malls, recreation areas, streets, and SCHOOLS. We will talk about schools solely in this blog.
There are about 27 million middle and high school teenagers in America. There are are only about 15% to 20% of churches in America who have a part-time or full-time Youth Pastor. The rest of youth ministry in our nation is led by volunteer leadership. This is not the blog to determine why that is. We will not talk about vision or philosophy or priority in ministry. That is another post.
What I want to do is alleviate any fears or condemnation with the opening statement of this blog. Here are 5 ways to have a presence on campus (whether you are full-time or part-time or volunteer):
- Train your students to be campus missionaries. Systematic preaching and teaching of the importance of sharing their faith, and, how to do that in the middle and high school context.
- Attend as many extra-curricular events as possible on the campus. The whole youth leadership team should be assigned to this. Assuring that every school is covered.
- Volunteer or apply for work at the school. Teaching or classroom assistance, career/vocational/behavioral counseling, lunchroom, library, athletic team coaching, officiating sports, choirs, or transportation services. How many more do we need to list here?
- Programming and Planning to use the facilities of the local schools for youth ministry events.Things like seminars, conferences, assemblies, concerts, or athletic events can build trust and provide the school system with resources to build better students. Now the church is giving and not taking.
- Praying for the campuses in your area. This can be done publicly in the youth ministry service, or, with strategic prayer walks or meetings on or around the campus. By doing this you promote a passion for the schools, but, you also invest intercessory prayers into the situation as a solution to the problem.