“We don’t really have any youth ministry at our church.” – A woman who was attending a conference with 14 students from her church and community.
As the conversation with her developed, what she meant by “not having youth ministry” is they don’t have a regular weekly meeting with their students. They just get together here and there with the few students from their church and their friends. Ministry to students doesn’t have to mean that you meet every Sunday or Wednesday evening. It means that you spend time caring for and loving students in the name of Jesus. This can happen in many different settings and formats. Student ministry is not determined by frequency of formal, institutional components, but by genuinely caring for students and inviting them on the road of discipleship.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t meet on a regular basis. But when you begin, keep the relational component alive. There is something that can be said for structure for students, but meeting for meeting’s sake won’t really move students toward Jesus. If they know that you care for them, and then create opportunities to meet together with Christ following leaders and with other students, there’s a good chance they will be there and will grow.
Your life – if you love Jesus and are around kids for any reason – is youth ministry to some degree. Live that out. And work with what you have.
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