Student Ministry is not a common major for a college student. In fact most schools don't offer this. Because, well, it's student ministry. You may be asking yourself; "What is student ministry, anyway?" Student ministry is often seen as youth groups at churches or Christian youth camps. And they are indeed a part of student ministry. But I feel like student ministry is more than that. It is connecting with a middle/high school/college student and helping them grow their relationship with Christ. In my personal opinion anyone who has built a relationship with a student is involved in student ministry. So now that we have a working definition, let's talk about why I have pursued this field. Here are the 5 reasons I chose student ministry.
- I feel like many youth groups have been failing their students for generations now. So many youth groups are used to just keep students busy and out of trouble and tell them that sex is bad. There is so much more to faith than that! And acting like students can't handle any more than that and then throwing them out in the real world without guidance is awful! And the church is wondering why so many students don't go back to Church during and after college! Well duh! You made it judgmental and boring! (I am aware that there are great youth groups out there! And I am so thankful for those! But I have seen too many shallow ones for too long.)
- Because students are not only the future of the church but also the future of our country! It's common to hear people say things like "The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow!" which is so true! But teenagers are never treated like that. They are treated more like a nuisance and something to be kept. These teenagers are dealing with more and more stresses every generation. There are way more pressures on them today than when we were youth. And they aren't being taken seriously. I think it's time to actually start valuing them as the individuals they are!
- Student Ministry as a whole is in the middle of a huge shift from preachy to relational environments. This is such an exciting change and very much needed. I want to be a part of this!
- I remember being in middle and high school and feeling like I had no one to talk to. I remember being in such a dark place. In reality there were probably plenty of adults in my life I could have confided in. But I didn't have those relationships built. If I can make even one student feel like they can pass their burden off on me I will feel like I have succeeded in student ministry.
- I felt called by God. This may sound silly or strange. But I wanted to go to veterinary school. I wanted to go into large animal veterinary. But God had other plans. So here I am! With a student ministry degree and a blog! We'll see what happens!
So those are the main reasons I have pursued student ministry. I have done volunteer work and worked at various camps. Even had a summer internship at a major non-denominational church! Those were all amazing experiences! But I intend to use my degree to write curriculum and books for students that really challenge their faith. That focus on growing in Christ and not just about waiting until marriage. There is so much to love about our Savior and it's time that serious books about faith should be out there that are applicable to youth of today!
What are your thoughts on student ministry? Did you go to youth group?