Friday, September 25, 2009

College Students are in Charge! YIKES?

This past Wednesday night I got a call that my grandmother was ill and my grandpa thought we should make a trip to go see her. She is better now, thank goodness. But here is what I learned from this.

We have a philosophy here in our ministry that we let the college students stick around the ministry after they graduate high school. We called them College Help and there are certain standards that they are asked to uphold to be there. High standards that push them to be mature. We spend a lot time training our students when they get the junior/senior years of High School about how to be leaders and how the ministry is ran. Some of them are going into ministry, some are not.

So by time they graduated out HS, they are involved in most aspects of the ministry. This can range from leading worship, giving testimony, being in charge of projects, and some old fashion gopher work. But we train them, we invest in them and we push them. Why do we do this?

The obvious reason is that it keeps them accountable. Keeps them focused and continues their growth in the Christian walk. But with what happened with us on Wednesday, another amazing aspect shines. They know how to run things. Our college students, while we were gone: Did it all. The worship, the games, the set up, the speaking, the prizes, ALL OF IT. They were equipped and ready to go. It pays to spend the effort and time training them for this. Has it been tough? YES. Do they fail? YES. But when they succeed? AMAZING.

I am very proud of them. They did great job. It took off a lot of stress. There are a lot of student ministries out there that remove students as soon as they graduate. If it is done right. Done with organization and hard expectations. Then having them stick around is a WIN-WIN-WIN situation. For you, them and the ministry.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cardinals Game = Ministry???

Is student ministry strictly for inside the church walls? Having grown up in a split family and not living with either parent. I came to realize that LOVE is often spelled TIME.

Last night I got the chance to take one of our 7th grade students to a Cardinals game. It was the first game he had been to in 3 years and the last time he sat way up high in the nosebleeds. Our seats last night were two rows behind the bullpen. He loved the improvement. Throughout the game I had the joy of watching him just have a blast. He never stopped smiling, he was doing all the cheers (CHARGE!), booing the Brewers, cheering the Redbirds. It was an honor to just see the excitement. It got me thinking.

You know, we only see these students maybe 7 hours a week if we are lucky and they come to everything they can come to. 7 hours! If you think that you can effectively reach and disciple a student in 7 hours a week you need to rethink your ministry. Jesus modeled the fact that He spent a tons of time with his disciples. Living with them, traveling with them and of course teaching them. You have to spend time with students outside of church. You need to take the extra step and be in their lives.

This student’s joy was contagious. It made me digress back to being in 7th grade. Then I only I got to go to one game a summer. In some ways it was more special than being able to go more now. The next thing I knew I was doing all the cheers (everybody clap your hands!), I was booing the brewers and when Holliday hit the 3 run homer the lead, we both went crazy!

I go on about how this student’s home life not the best. How, at 12 yrs old, he is stressed out all the time. But the point of this to realize that I spent a good 6 hours with him yesterday. A lot of talk was about baseball, sure. But there was also plenty talk about home, church events coming up, and just plain encouragement. When Franklin struck out the final batter and fireworks went off. The joy that he was showing, the happiness, the stress free feeling. THAT is ministry. I loved every second of it.