Why I Love Doing Student Ministry

Today, I read an article in a section of the Detroit Free Press called Play about a local band named The Great Fiction. (This is their MySpace page.) Well, I know 3 of the 4 members from a summer camp that I used to help do. I knew these three guys when they were mere teenagers and even when they would lead the music at our camp chapels. It was cool to see that these guys, who formed this band when they were teens are still together making music.

They haven’t hit the big time and it doesn’t even appear, from the article, that they have a desire to really hit it big. They just seem to be enjoying what they do and hanging out together. They are having a CD/DVD release party this weekend and that is why they were featured in the news magazine.

It was very interesting to read what they had to say and there was a couple of things that they mentioned that got me to thinking about why I love student ministry so much.

The church proved to be an excellent place to nurture their musical inclinations, he says. “All of our parents are very devout Christians, and we all went to these wild Pentecostal churches where there’s lots of jamming going on, a lot of dancing, a lot of craziness. You just pick it up because there’s really good musicians there,” Philip Zott says.

I believe that if you give students an opportunity to use their talents in the church at a young age that it will help them to develop into productive citizens later on in life. The church can and should be a place where they can hone these skills, and make mistakes or even fail. That way when they become adults they will have the confidence to go forward and do something. When I read that quote by Phil my heart jumped, because I know that I had a small part in some of that with these guys.

The other thing they said that got me thinking about how much I love student ministry was this….

Despite the intense religious background, Zott wants to be clear that the Great Fiction is not a band in the Christian genre. “We have some lyrics that use the kind of phrases that people use — we grew up around a lot of what we call Christianese. I kind of left Christianity. Unfortunately, we had bad experiences, and we just kind of got tired of dealing with that stuff,” Zott says. Neme is the only member who still attends church.

Why would such a negative thing like someone leaving Christianity make me realize how much I love student ministry? It is because it makes me realize all the more how desperately teens need to be connected with loving adults, who will care for them and show them a God that is bigger than them and loves and cares for them far more then any person can. It also made me realize that we need to teach students that a faith in God is more than hype, flash and mountaintop experiences; but that it is a journey. We need to give them so much more than just the high times but give them some good solid grounding that will help them when the storms of life come at them.

I am all the more energized to keep doing student ministry, because I do not want to see teens graduate from high school only to graduate from their faith as well. Instead I want to do what I can to help them to grasp a hold of a faith in God that will last well into their adult years that they can then pass onto their children. I think of my youth pastor and how he helped me to develop a faith in God that has stood the test of time and the trials of life, and then pass it onto my children. And that is why I love doing student ministry, because of the challenge and the joy of seeing lives changed.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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