#3: replace yourself. Student pastors main role is to equip. The key is get out the spotlight all the time. The tendency I had in the beginning is to do everything! I wanted to do it my way, in my time and with my hopeful outcome. What I quickly realized is that I fell on my face in many areas. I would miss basic details. I would be running around trying to make sure everything was "perfect" before the service. I learned to plug people in because I missed the importance of being prepared beforehand so I could focus upon relationships. My desire to have a "top-notch" ministry revealed my pride and that I needed to learn to give away the ministry. Ministry is about pouring into other people and getting out of the spotlight. I know the tendency is to do it the "right way" and what this usually means is to only let a select few touch any part of the ministry. Student ministry is messy. Every leader and church has flaws, struggles and imperfections. If we really think that we have it all together in all areas, we will fail miserably. Once people were plugged into the roles that God created them for, the ministry grew. In student ministry, we have to learn to not make it about our personality or our personal preferences. It is all about making much of Jesus and pointing all of the praise to Him!
Replacing yourself sounds great, but how do you do it?
- Stop dumping responsibility on people. It is easy to tell someone to do something. Dumping can leave people discouraged because they have no idea how to do it. Dumping is lazy and brash. Dumping bombards people. It creates a lack of communication that burns people out.
- Learn to delegate in a way that empowers them and does not bombard them. Give them insight on how to do the task with follow-up encouragement. Delegation includes knowing how to give direction to people so they can succeed. It creates a feeling of ownership because each person feels that they are making an investment into the ministry.
Ways to replace yourself:
- Student-led band: Train up students to plan songs that go along with the series. It takes a lot of time and effort, but the reward is an avenue for students to grow in ministry. We have two student bands right now because students are plugging into a place of ministry.
- Prayer team: We pray thirty minutes before the weekly service. It is great hearing students pray for God's spirit to move and change lives.
- Videos/Games: Include leaders and students to come up with ideas to create a welcoming environment. (We do things like "Me-Tube" or "Room Raiders" as a fun way to get to know students and highlight them as part of the icebreakers during the service).
- Welcome team: Include parents and students in creating a welcoming environment to greet and encourage everyone who attends.
- Tech team: Equip students how to run the computers, sound board, and lighting.
- Teaching: Allow others to teach during the weekly gathering of students. It is good to let other leaders share their heart with all of the students. Include students to bring the Word! This past summer, three high school guys shared the message on Wednesday nights!
My goal is to only be up front when I bring the message. The goal is to give away the ministry so that we are raising up leaders who lead in all aspects of the ministry.
Replace yourself. Because it is not about us anyway.