(a few excerpts from my student ministry paper) Students want to be heard and to find a stable place in their life to be themselves. The experience that should happen in student’s lives is a genuine encounter with a living God. This postmodern generation wants real, tangible, useful insights into who they are in Christ and what their purpose is in life. Josh McDowell explains, “why are we here?’ Our purpose in life – your purpose and your children’s purpose is to know God and become more and more like Him” (Beyond Belief to Conviction, 186-187). Many wonder of their identity and in turn fill it with fads, clothes, friends, drugs, alcohol and many other things that fill the acceptance that they desperately desire. Genuine relationships are what define community and if this is a foundation for student ministry, many lives will be changed. How many students experience this kindness and acceptance in the local church today? Is the local church living up to what Christ has shown in the Bible?
Healing in relationships is an important aspect of student ministry. The whole saying of, “Hey, I’ll be praying for you” is good to say, but why don’t we go and pray for that person right at the moment? Relationships are the key to life-long, effective student ministry because that is what Jesus did in His ministry. The gospel must be taught and lived out through relationships.
How can a student ministry be in the Will of God if there is no love and relationship? Connecting involves a love and passion to be intentional to love and accept students. Students need to know they are loved through relationships that are grounded in the love and acceptance of Christ.
God desires a relationship with students and this must be communicated clearly so they can know the healing power of a relationship with Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.” This verse is full of the heart that God has for people, to trust completely in Him and his work on the cross. Students must understand that every worry or need they come across in life is understood by God. Today’s church is in need of a revival of relationship in order to create community so people can feel God’s grace and love.
Students want a place to belong where authenticity in friendships must be a focal part of student ministry. Jesus loved enough to die for people, even the unlikable ones. How much more do we need to love any student who comes into our lives?