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Have you ever been asked these questions? "What is your vision for our student ministry? What do you want to see happen? What do you want to do with our students?"
I have. In an interview. An interview! I wasn't even the hired yet. In fact, it was asked in the first face to face interview?
A vision? For your student ministry? I know very little to nothing about your church, much less your student ministry, and you want me to lay out a vision for you? Not happening.
What's wrong with the question, you ask? Nothing. And yet, everything.
Questions like these are fine when you have spent some time in a church as the youth worker, and have come through a season of vision planning and and prayer. But in the interview? How can I present a vision for your student ministry without first know what God is doing in your student ministry?
Mark tackles this issue in chapter 3 of his book, Sustainable Youth Ministry. He calls it the Superstar Search; the quest for the youth worker who will solve all the problems of the youth ministry and bring about fruit, growth, and a thriving ministry.
When I started at my current ministry, I wanted to stay away from the Superstar label, so I came in with a couple guidelines. I set these guidelines because I sensed that there were some issues that needed to be overcome. Nothing bad, just some stuff that needed to be dealt with. The ministry had an already a well established program. I guy I was replacing had just completed 10 years with the church. The church was happy with what he had done. More important, the students like what he had done. But I sensed that there might be that desire by the church to see something more happen with the youth ministry. there was a new lead pastor, a new director of worship and music, and an unspoken feeling that change was in the air. So by setting a few guidelines for myself. Honestly, I was really protecting myself.
1. No Major Changes in the First Year.
I knew I had a lot to learn; the program, the culture, the students, the congregation, etc. This was a fruitful ministry that people respected. I was the new guy. My job that first year was to observe and learn. We kept everything the way it was. We did what the ministry always did. And we evaluated as we went.
When I started at my current ministry,
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 25 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the student ministry director at a church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for over 21 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.