Thoughts on Middle School Ministry

This week we kick off the new school year. With free pizza and good promotion this Wednesday should be fun. Although, I can’t help but think of a few things that keep me awake at night.

1) Students and their connections with us
One of the most difficult realizations in ministry is that we don’t connect with every student in our ministry. I dealt with this fact many years ago. Now I see others dealing with it. What is funny to me is the “if they don’t don’t connect with me, they don’t connect with anyone” mentality. Just because a student doesn’t connect with us in the way we think they should doesn’t mean that they are a lost cause or can’t connect with others; that is a selfish perspective. I know a student in particular, who seems not to connect with his bible study leader. The leader knows this student from another church program. Does this create a default to which a student has to connect to the leader, and would it a terrible thing if they connected with another leader, even though the bible study leader has known them more than the connected leader?

Another issue is that fact that students don’t often connect with us in the way we think they should. Middle school students are shrouded in ambiguity. They are never the same, yet we often want them to be predictable. If this is your die-hard belief…run from student ministry! Students are constantly changing, and we should jump for joy that we have leaders that connect with students.


2) Middle School Student Leadership
Some people would see this as a lost cause, but see this a developing tool. Middle school students are very much capable of leadership. Just because they are sometimes selfish, flaky, and squirrelly, does not mean that they are not worth the effort. I have seen some of the most self-sacrificing attributes from middle school students. They are an untapped resource.

3) Leadership motives
What motivates leaders? That question is what has kept me without sleep for months. What do leaders want? How do we address impure motives (ie. selfishness)? To be effective we need to have everyone on the same team. Seems simple enough. But what about that one who wants more, or forgets about the learning process. For me, leadership motivates me to be effective, consistent, and intentional. In order to seek such things I must LEARN!!! I can never stop learning. I can be a youth pastor for 16+ years and still understand nothing. This motivates me to learn and understand more. Nevertheless, learning has no end, and anyone who says different is selling something to you.

I have found through my learning that selfish motives will destroy a ministry or keep it from growing. We must guard ourselves from such deceit.

(Please Note: this blog is in no way a representation of a person(s). Although, the content and circumstance might stem from conversations with a person, it is not about them, only the ideas and concepts strained from those conversations.)

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One thought on “Thoughts on Middle School Ministry

  1. Jessica Maher says:

    It is really interesting how sometimes we get so caught up in this concept of our students connecting with us. I mean seriously not everyone has to like everyone, but obviously there is something that brings that student back. There is a reason that we have more than one leader, we are all different and we all realate to different students in different ways, that it the beauty of it. If one student dosen’t relate to me, they may relate to another leader.

    Just a little add on to what you were saying I guess.

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