We have an AMAZING group of interns in our student ministry. They are excellent in every way!
These are some of the notes from a talk I gave to a group of them. It sums up a lot my beliefs about what they will face in ministry….It is a little stern sounding but hopefully more of a “velvet hammer” than a sledge.
MINISTRY IS NOT JUST A JOB, IT IS AN ADVENTURE!
- You Will Be the Most Influential Person in the Life of Some of These Kids. The outcast, the lonely, the immature etc… even the kid with “ministry” stars in their eyes will demand a lot of attention. On a very small scale you will be a “rock star”…don’t let it go to your head! You are not that big a deal…NONE OF US ARE! But we have been given a great gift. The ability to influence kids for the Kingdom!
- They Will Trust and Look Up to You – some of the kids don’t have any adults who are even remotely interested in their lives. They will trust you with their secrets, their pain, their silliness, their crushes and their dreams. Never betray that trust unless it is dangerous to the student! You can never get mixed up with the gossip or part of the drama. Your role is to be a calming influence. Defuse the controversy that “so easily entanges the lives of teenagers.
- They Will Listen to What You Say… and What You Don’t Say. All eyes will be on you when you respond to problems, face difficult decisions, get excited about something, joke, respond to injustice etc…. and they will feel the freedom to copy you… and they will. Big responsibility.
- There is a “Target on your Back”. (John 10:10) While everyone who names Jesus as Lord and Savior has a “target on their backs”, there is a special brand of attack that is saved for anyone who is in a position of leadership. Why? If you take out the leader you usually do a lot to take out those who follow them.
- They will push you emotionally and spiritually– I really hope that you signed up to be the last one home from a trip (after the last kids parents forgot they were coming back “tonight?”) Or the one who has to run an errand no one else wants to.
- This Ministry is Hard on Ego’s…So Don’t Bring One. Your job is to support what the Student Pastor (Junior High Pastor) has determined needs to be done. He is supporting the direction of the church (Pastor) and is held accountable for the overall ministry. Unless it is immoral unethical, illegal or dangerous…follow his lead!
- This is Not a Place to Relive Your Student Ministry Days. This ministry is not about the staff…it is about God and Students! Far too many folks enter Student ministry to gain automatic leadership or worse, to gain a popularity that they did not achieve while actually IN High School/Jr. High. This Student ministry is the place to come and serve with humility and determination…not an easy shot at leadership. Leadership will come to those who lead well. Not those who need leadership in order to feel good about themselves. (ouch!)
- You Have Been Asked to Serve Here Because We Believe That You Meet the Standards Set Forth. You would not be here unless we believed in what you can add to the lives of the students in this ministry. Glad you are here!
THINGS THAT WILL ALLOW YOUR MINISTRY TO BLOOM HERE…
- Competence. You may not understand that there is a lot more to ministry than being a good man/woman. You must be competent. At what?… you may ask. Well here is a short little list…recruit, train and deploy volunteers. Return phone calls, show up on time, follow through, outreach, in-reach, “rightly dividing the Word of God” (2 Tim 2:15),Make decisions on the go, handle parents well, follow through with your commitments, etc….. It is whole lot more than just “Loving Jesus”!
- Be “in the Word”. We expect you to be able to grow on your own. We will certainly help you, support you, challenge you, give you the tools you need to grow and cultivate an environment where growth can take place…but we expect the intern staff to walk with the Lord. (Phil 2:12)
- Enthusiasm. We are here to serve with passion and enthusiasm.
- Good Attitude. This is a key part of having “THICK SKIN AND A HEART LIKE JESUS”. Attitudes can do everything from drive kids away to “grieve the spirit” (Ephesians 4:29-30)
- Strong Work Ethic. Ministry is a huge blessing to those who are called to it. It is also a very difficult consuming pursuit. We work hard as “working for the Lord” (Col. 3:23)
- Thick skin. Not everyone will like you! As great as you are… there will be parents who are not impressed, kids who think you are a jerk and other staff people who don’t “get” you. It’s OK? Let it be there issue. Do what you can to mend relationships (Matt. 5:24) and then move on. Not everyone is supposed to like you!
THINGS THAT WILL “KILL YOUR MINISTRY” HERE….
- Bad Doctrine. So much is floating around out there that is just plain “bad Doctrine”. We are not asking you to be Biblical Scholars…just stick to the basics until you get a firm grasp on what it is that you are talking about. (By the way, A “firm grasp” does not include the latest Rob Bell video, Brian McClaren book or trendy “new theology”)
- Disloyalty. Follow in attitude and action.
- Immorality. Bye-Bye
- Lack of integrity. Yea this too….bye-bye.
- Laziness. This is hard work…no time to be lazy.
- Selfish Ambition. (James 3:16)