(Just a few thoughts from my student ministry paper) Students more than other ages experience dramatic changes: mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. In order to effectively minister to students who are changing daily, one must know how they develop to effectively communicate to them. Students are at different stages in their development and we must meet them at their point of understanding and comprehension.
No longer can we accept the truth that students are graduating from student ministry and rarely darken the door of a church again. This quote explains, “When ministry is based on programs, then statistics are the obvious source of measurement. However, when the focus of your ministry is people connecting in authentic community, the stories of life-change become the victories and marks of progress” (7 Checkpoints of Student Ministry, 226).
It all starts in understanding the audience of students and their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical development. The essence of student ministry is to aid the family in helping their student become independently dependant in their relationship with Christ.
Even though students are developing and their minds become focused on becoming independent. Students desire first and foremost the acceptance and love of their parents over anyone in their life. Their self-image and acceptance is derived first, from their relationship with their parents and their friends. The Word of God needs to be the mirror that shows the reality of their need of a relationship with Christ and His heart of knowing and loving each student unconditionally. Christ accepts us - unconditionally, right where we are. The reality is students will choose parents or peers to find their acceptance and guidance
If the acceptance and love is not received from home, then their friends will be their source. Jesus understood His disciples and built trustworthy relationships. This led to the dispersion of the disciples and multiplication of the early church. It all started with Jesus’ decision to pour His life into the disciples intentionally and then releasing them to develop into leaders!