It was a homerun moment, something unexpected; yet, powerful. Throughout the day the students worked on a farm dedicated to helping women in transition from a hard past into a bright future of the culinary arts. The director of the farm told these students that they were not just refurbishing an old piece of property, but giving women who were enslaved to drugs, or sex trafficking a bright future.
The next day after talking to a few parents it became clear that pulling weeds, harvesting crops and stripping paint had a profound impact on the teens. Many of them started to see through the mundane tasks of the day and see that they were creating a home and future for women they may never meet. Where this experience will take them God only knows, but it remind me that we’re not done yet.
To keep the moment going, to get a movement in your ministry you need to make sure your ministry is delivering a:
Truth with Application followed by Reflection, because it always leads to something bigger
- Truth: We need to be intentional with the information we share with our teens. You want to give them God’s truth because of the reaction it can cause. We can’t just have students do, we can’t just make things fun, at times we just need to serve them bare, raw truth.
- Application: But it’s not just about inundating them with facts, and quotes, it’s about painting an engaging picture that’ll lead to them seeking out the core. Through application we can set our students up to test the truth out. My biggest criticism of formal religious education is that it’s all information without application. Teens need to be commissioned on a regular basis.
- Reflection: While application is trying it out, reflection is figuring it out. Now, we can’t always explain why God works the way He does, but we need teens to seek out their feelings and emotions. Providing our students with small groups allows them to openly share their experiences, but one of the most intimate ways is through a prayer journal.
If you want big wins and moments in your ministry you need to send your students on a journey. If you’ve ever taken a long hike or run without any technology you know your mind and heart races. Truth falls on deaf ears without application. And truth that’s not processed and digested will never push a student to go further down the road of their faith journey. We as ministers need to facilitate that. We as a ministry do that through a simple worship program, that leads into small groups, that should go beyond the small group circle. Do we do that perfectly? No, but it’s our goal to deliver truth that leads to something bigger.
How do you make your student ministry a movement and not a monument?