There is a lot of frustration these days, and it isn’t because of coronavirus.
Across our country, people are arguing over the efficacy of masks, the legitimacy of reported cases, and the degree to which we should open the economy.
I don’t want to pretend that the answers are simple. This really is a difficult situation, and it can be a nightmare to lead in these times.
But the reality is that the lack of clear communication has left many in a mood of distrust, despair or disgust, and I think we can learn a lot from this regarding how we communicate in our student ministries.
There is a stereotype regarding student pastors that we are unorganized and unpredictable.
One of the most effective things you and I can do to dispel that stereotype is to communicate clearly regarding the vision and purpose of our Student ministry.
Ask yourself whether your students and their parents know why we do what we do.
How clear is your understanding of your vision for making disciples within your church and student ministry?
If we do not communicate the reasons and purposes behind our weekly and special events, then students and parents will fill the gaps in their understandings of our ministry with their own narratives.
We have all probably dealt with students who don’t attend our services or events because they aren’t fun enough, or we’ve dealt with those parents whose only expectation of us is to plan fun events for them to bring their kids to.
Before we cast blame on those students and parents for missing the purpose behind why we do what we do, can we honestly say that we have communicated the importance of discipleship and how our ministry is built to make disciples?
Or think about that volunteer that left your ministry out of frustration. Before we attribute their behavior to immaturity, maybe the issue is that they didn’t understand their role in your ministry, or how they added value to the community. They will only know these things after you have communicated to them repeatedly.
One of our greatest responsibilities as leaders in Christ’s church is to clearly communicate what discipleship looks like and how one fits in the process of following Jesus.
If we don’t communicate what our ministry is about or how discipleship happens, then those in our ministry will fill in the gaps we leave, and both you and those you lead will be frustrated with the results.
Maybe this looks like you beefing up your vision and mission statements or creating a handbook for your volunteers and parents explaining the “why” behind each aspect of your ministry and where they fit in.
Maybe it’s just being consistent and clear in explaining to your students the importance of discipleship and how you do it. Maybe it’s having a conversation with your pastor about creating a culture of discipleship churchwide so that your student ministry isn’t an outlier.
Whatever it is, be sure that communication is key in your ministry.
Whenever you don’t communicate clearly, you will undoubtedly encounter the same feelings of distrust, disappointment, and discontent that are currently plaguing many in our country.
Dedra Henry’s church is small. Her husband, James, accepted the call to serve as pastor there in 2019, and when the COVID-19 pandemic happened, they lost nearly all of what