Starting at the End

For the last month and a half, I have been chewing on a question that every youth pastor needs to spend some serious time thinking about.  I mean I always had an answer to this question but I never really dove into the way I should have.  The question is a very serious question.  And one that will shape how I do ministry for the next few years.  Here is the question- What do I want a student to look  like that graduate from my student ministry?

Now at first glance, it seems like an easy question to answer.  I think all youth ministries want the same thing- to develop students who have a personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ, right?  But go deeper, what does that look like?  How does a student live?  In order to measure your effectiveness as a student ministry, you need some tangible things to use as measurement. 

The problem is you can’t really use tangible things to measure a student’s heart.  We can say, “I want students who read the Bible everyday, or share their faith often or attend church all the time” (and all those things are worth noting by the way), but does that really measure the relationship a student has with Christ.  I know in my life as a teen heavily involved in youth group, I did all those things and my relationship was nowhere near healthy with Christ.  They were just things I did.  So I don’t think you can fully rely on those tangible things- but I still think they are important to teach!

So as I have thought about it a lot, I keep going back to four things I want students to be able to do when they leave the student ministry here at Sycamore Creek Church:
(This is by no means a finished thought process, but I wanted to share it with you anyway.  Feel free to add insight!)

1. To own their faith-
They may not be able to explain the deepest things of the Bible, but I want them to be able to state what they believe and why they believe it.  So many students believe because their parents believe, but I want to see students really own their own faith.

2. To be able to confidently say “I don’t know”
There is something about the confidence that comes from the ability to say “I don’t know”.  I really don’t want students to think they have everything figured out in their faith- because then it is not faith, it’s logic.  But i want them to be comfortable enough in who they are in Christ to say “I don’t know”

3. To not settle for “I don’t know” as a final answer- To me, if a student says “I don’t know” and leaves it at that, then they are done growing (true in adults as well!).  But I want students to say “I don’t know, but I will find out”.  That is where the habits of Bible Reading, prayer, church attendance, and all that come into play.   So I want to see students willing to do the work to find out the answer to the question so that the next time they get that question, they can say “I do know!”

4. To be willing to ask Questions- This is where it gets hard.  I want to teach my students to ask questions.  I don’t want them to take everything I say or Josh says or any other teacher says at just face value.  I want them to ask questions.  When you ask questions, you get answers, when you get the right answers, you gain knowledge, When you gain knowledge, your faith can grow and be stretched.

I think if every student that graduated from the student ministry here at Sycamore Creek did those four things, I think we could deem it a successful ministry!

Now the tough question is “How do I guide them to do those things?”….



  1. Big Dog Daddy said

    Love them!

  2. […] to be like when they graduate from the student ministry at Sycamore Creek Church.  (I posted my thoughts here).  But as I have thought about it, that question really applies to parents as well.  So let me […]

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