I had the opportunity to speak to the Introduction to Youth Ministry class at Charleston Southern University. I graduated in 2000 with my Youth Ministry degree and have learned quite a lot (mostly by trial and error or from mistakes) about ministry. I decided the most important thing I could say to a group like this was clear. Here is my outline:
I. The Easy Stuff
– Programming: The nuts and bolts of what you do.
* Production – The connection to your audience.
– Creative Elements
– Large Group Teaching
– Large Group Worship
– Technical and Media aspects
* Groups – The community that your audience needs.
– Small Group is where life change happens.
– You must have the right people on board.
– If you do this well, everything else will work out.
II. The Hard Stuff
– Parents: The determining factor in consistent participation from students.
– You must communicate better than you do anything else with parents.
– The can be you most valuable asset.
– Parental trust determines student participation.
III. The Painful Stuff
– Pastors: The difference maker in the commitment your church has in your ministry.
– According to 1 Peter 2, our first responsibility is submission.
– There is nothing like working for a leader that trusts and believes in you.
– God always works through authority and never blesses rebellion. (Thanks Andy!)
Obviously that's not all there is to ministry but it was what I felt like I wish someone had taught me in the beginning. Well, odds are someone tried but I didn't listen. Here's hoping these students learn it quicker and less painfully than I did.