Lots going on, lots on the mind. I’ve been avoiding writing a mind dump because I have been watching lots of things unfold and processing.  More than ever I don’t have answers, but here are my thoughts and things rolling around in my head.

  • This is the weirdest year I have had in student ministry, not a bad year but a weird year.
  • Our senior class has been the class our ministry has been built on.
  • Everyone’s first year at a church is just getting situated and so this class is the first class we have brought through in our current configuration.
  • When our numbers went up it was them, they are a big class and they have always brought friends.
  • This year they are M.I.A.
  • Our numbers have taken a hit and its noticeable but that isn’t the issue.
  • What I am ready to cry about is when I start taking mental lists of people we used to minister to and I used to see loving the church who are gone.
  • I guess that is a part of being in ministry and it happens every year and I have seen this before but this year it is epidemic.
  • There is no rule that says if someone doesn’t come to a Wednesday night or a small group for a semester they can’t get into heaven, but it breaks my heart.
  • If you love God you will love his church and it is hard to see them not worshipping or fellowshipping with believers and not be concerned.
  • Naturally this has made me get introspective at our discipleship process.
  • Don’t worry I am not down on my self, I still have problems with liking myself too much, but here is what I am processing and wanting to evaluate fairly.
  • Last year at a conference I heard a pastor say that if Hershey’s had empty wrappers coming out at the end of their factory they would be looking at the process.
  • Our leadership development must get better.
  • Our grace (small) groups must get better. Having said all this we have an amazing core of students on Wednesdays, 7 different small groups, and a great staff.
  • Our worship planning needs to get better and involve more personalities and giftings.
  • I don’t want my schedule, administration, management, creativity, or anything else to bottleneck our ministry.
  • We have all played critic when we see this for someone else and I want to be honest of the ways I am setup to let it take place.
  • Next year we are transitioning to a team that will have elders, deacons, staff, and leaders that will lead our student ministry team and I have been asked to lead that team.
  • I/We need to ask these questions now before the inadequacies in our ministry effect middle school and high school students and staff.
  • The good news of this stuff is that when we are aware of our own shortcomings we see things they way they are and know how much we need God.
  • I am praying for God’s wisdom.


  1. Mark,

    Your honesty is refreshing. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the ups and downs of student ministry. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mark, Its not you. The problem is spiritual hunger and thirst. The Bible says blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. In spite of the “super-dynamic” programs that are youth ministry today, kids usually walk away from youth ministry in their junior and senior years because the novelty has worn off and they are too busy. Their life is consumed with “other stuff” and like most Americans (including their parents) God takes a marginal role. I know you have worked hard for these past three or four years to insure that this didn’t happen, but the problem is culture-wide and epidemic. Mark, you set your heart to follow God, and you were not deterred. You didn’t have a “super-cool” youth program or pastor. You simply were a Christ follower. You sought out those who were also Christ followers and worked at being discipled. Really its tough to effectively impact large groups. We can influence and inspire large groups but we can only work with a handful of people. If you are doing that, you are an effective ministers. The crowds come and go, but just be sure you are always working with those that are responsive. There will always be a handful that seek you out and want more.

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