I have recently sent out a questionnaire to a group of individuals who are in ministry positions or are in fields that some of you are interested in. This is the first in a series of posts from these dedicated individuals whom I look up to. The goal of these posts are to serve as connection points for those seeking ministry positions and or just looking for more information.
Here ya go, fresh off the press! This ministry help is from a Youth Pastor from Bowling Green Kentucky. His name is Brian Smith and his game is youth ministry!
Ministry Position or Expertise: Student Ministry
Where are you located: Bowling Green Kentucky
How long have you been in/doing current ministry? Part Time 5 years = Full Time = 6 years – Total 11 years
(In your opinion)
1. What are some things you wish you knew before entering into your specific ministry/expertise?
I wish I would have had a firm grasp of how to write a Bible lesson. I also wish I would have had some ideas on how to plan trips, mission projects, etc. I feel that we did without because of my fear of the unknown. I didn’t know how to do it, so I didn’t.
2. What are some specific ways to build knowledge/experience in your area of ministry/expertise?
Find a mentor. This is a must in ministry. Someone you can bounce ideas off of and that you can learn from. I also recommend that you never stop reading. Place a priority on your family, and on your personal time with God. Church life can so easily get in the way of these!
3. What are some common challenges associated with your area of ministry/expertise?
People understanding that ministry has changed “since they were teenagers.” I would say one of the most frustrating issues is leaders and parents not understanding today’s student ministry. I feel called to ministering to the entire family. Many people just want a baby sitter.
4. What was your biggest learning experience concerning your ministry/expertise?
Seeing that church life is a lot different once you are on staff. This is positive and negative. I always thought working at a church would be spiritually uplifting. I quickly learned that I have to make my spiritual walk my #1 priority, I can’t just assume because I work at church it will already be.
5. What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing ministry/expertise?
Get as much education as you can. Education is key. I was not much for studying, but as I began seminary I felt like I couldn’t learn enough! Some of the things you learn in seminary doesn’t seem relevant, but I find myself using the things I learned in school on a daily basis.
6. What tools/websites do you use in your ministry/expertise?
I have several books with current ideas. I use a lot of commentaries and Bible Study helps as I study to teach. There are several websites that I rely on where I can bounce ideas around. www.youthspecialties.com, www.pastor2youth.com, I also frequent state Baptist convention sites. Also of course ryanmarcum.com
7. What are some key failures that you would pass along to someone interested in ministry/expertise?
Pray through everything! Sometimes I want to jump the gun and not truly seek God on an idea or opportunity. If we are not praying through our ministry, then they will never be successful. Also don’t always assume the grass is greener on the other side. Whether it is another ministry you are looking at or another church that you think you want to work at. Sometimes the reason the grass is greener is because it is sitting on top of the septic tank!
8. What traits must one possess in order to excel in your area ministry/expertise?
Servant attitude, and a humble heart. The ability to fail, stand back up and try again. And you must have a desire for longevity. Change in student ministry does not happen overnight. We must stick around in order to see God do a miraculous work!
9. What is the vision for your ministry/expertise?
Lead believers and non-believers to have a passionate relationship with Jesus Christ. And to help families live this relationship out as one unit.
10. Do you see any current trends in your area of ministry? Will the trend(s) have a positive/negative impact on future ministry/expertise?
Trends are changing every day in student ministry! I do see a trend that could possibly change the way that we do ministry and that is social media. I think we need to begin to really rethink how we, as student pastors, are using social media, and how we can use it better to draw students and families closer to Christ. Another SHIFT if student ministry is FAMILY ministry. Student pastors encouraging and resourcing parents to disciple their children more than planning the NEXT BIG EVENT.
11. Are you on social media? If so, which ones?
Twitter – briansmith10
Facebook – briansmith10
Youtube – briansmith1200
1. Does your ministry have a website? Yes or No, If so, write url in space below:
2. What is the best way to contact you if someone has a specific question regarding your field of ministry/expertise?
1. What books are you currently reading/recommend?
I just ordered “Shift” and am looking forward to starting it. Lost and Found by Ed Stetzer. Every new youth pastor should read Doug Field’s “First Two Years in Youth Ministry.” “Leading From the Second Chair,” “1001 Ways to Reward Your Employees” – it is a secular book that gives great ideas of things to do for your volunteers.
2. What was your latest itunes download?
I believe it was some 90’s rap. Kicking it Old School!
3. What is your latest project/event that people should know about?
Been working on some different missions activities. Doing local Servant Evangelism type projects around the community and working on a Mission Trip in the state of KY, to work with locals in the Appalachian Region.