7 Commandments For Every Young Student Pastor

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For many young Student Pastors, this might be your first or second full-time role in ministry. There are so many things that you’ll face in this role that will challenge your faith, test your patience, and inspire you to be all that you can be as a leader of the next generation.

Here are a few tips that will help in the earlier stages of your ministry path.

1. Understand the bigger picture.

Especially when you're younger or in a new ministry role, it can be difficult to "see the forest for the trees," as the saying goes. As a new, young pastor, you're neck-deep in details, remembering names, adopting a church's culture, etc. Be mindful as you begin to swim that the water is deep and wide around you and that the area you’ve been placed lifeguard over is only a portion of a bigger pool. It’s too easy to lose sight of the fact that you and every other team member are commissioned to help push the kingdom, not just your area, forward. How can you adopt the overall vision of the church and adapt it to your specific ministry environment?

2. Carry yourself with professionalism.

Being a Youth Pastor means that you need to relate to teenagers and adults alike; however, I’ve seen more than one young Student Pastor forget that they are in fact no longer a student. Maintaining relevance should not be an excuse for immaturity. Have fun and create an engaging culture for students to engage in a relationship with Christ, but carry yourself as a leader and not another eighteen year old. Are you able to determine when it’s appropriate to act like a student and when it’s time to show maturity?

3. Study.

This is the perfect season for you to continue to grow and learn. Although it may not seem possible due to time constraints, you likely have more time now than you will later in your ministry path. Things only get more consuming as time goes on. Use your time wisely and invest in the leader you want to be in the future. What resources are you reading, and how are you currently growing yourself?

4. Know who you are & who you're not.

At Vanderbloemen, we are always asking candidates what kind of leader they are. Typically, we find there are three arenas that we as pastors operate in (some more than others).

  • The teacher; those who really love to study God's Word and prepare to engage a crowd with a message. These leaders generally thrive on stage and really enjoy communicating.
  • The pastor; those that love the one-on-one ministry encounters and by nature are counselors, mentors, and listeners. Shepherding is what fuels them.
  • The leader; those that thrive on systems and team building. These types truly enjoy motivating people and spearheading initiatives.

Again, in full-time ministry, we generally wear all of these hats at different times. However, as a young leader, you should begin to determine which area fuels you most and how you operate best. Know what you're good at and where you’re weak. Self awareness is a valuable commodity. What type of leader are you and what areas do you thrive in?

5. Arrogance will get you nowhere quickly.

Nobody likes arrogance, especially from those who’ve not even earned the right to brag. Don’t sink yourself before you’ve even gotten started on your ministry path. The best leaders are those that serve. Jesus came to serve, not to be served. I’ve often heard it said this way: Humility can be learned in public or in private. The choice is ours to make. I've been there, and I know it's too easy for young people to feel like they know everything. What are you doing to keep your pride in check?

6. Organize your time wisely.

We all get the same 24 hours in a day, and I’m a big believer in knowing where that time goes. If you're not managing your time well, I can almost guarantee you that you're losing hours each day to pointless causes. Spend the next week scheduling each of your hours, and I can guarantee you’ll be more productive, or at least have more time to kill. This is a great habit to set now as a young leader. What can you start putting on a regular schedule in order to streamline your time?

7. Replicate yourself.

This is a wise habit to begin now and will serve you well as you continue down your ministry path. Develop other leaders around you. Pinpoint a couple possible candidates that could possibly do your job, and begin to invest time into them. One of the worst things you can do is to one day leave your role and your current team empty handed. Your leadership will shine brightest if, when you leave, your absence isn’t felt.Are you investing in your student and volunteer leaders and others around you?

Student Ministry isn’t for the faint of heart - just look at the national average tenure of a Student Pastor, which is 18 months. Hopefully these tips could help lengthen your time in this important role.

What are other important lessons for young pastors and Youth Ministers to learn?

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