There’s a lot of talk in the student ministry world about how to cultivate a good relationship between the student ministry and the “big church” ministry. People write blogs about it. There are break out sessions at conferences about it. And I’m pretty sure that there’s a 37-point plan in a book at a bargain bookstore to make it work exactly right
We talk a lot about that relationship, but we don’t talk a lot about the relationship inside of the student ministry house. What relationship is that? It’s the relationship between the high school ministry and the middle school ministry.
At most churches where the student ministry is split, the middle school and the high school ministries rarely ever do anything together. They each have their own band, their own leaders, their own traditions, and generally just do their own thing.
We combine our middle school and high school for our fall camp each year. Over the past couple of years we have noticed a really cool vibe between them. All of our students interacted really well together. The high school students modeled what worship looked like to the younger students. The younger students reminded the older ones that were “too cool” to worship what it looks like to worship Jesus without caring what people think about you.
It was an environment that we realized needed to happen more than one weekend a year.
Last week we combined the two ministries for a worship night. We took over our worship center, combined bands, and planned a night that we thought could be very special. We wanted to base the entire night around baptisms and what came from that surpassed any of our expectations.
- We were able to baptize 18 students and a leader.
- We had at least five students accept Christ for the first time.
- We were able to “recreate” that camp/retreat experience where students put everything aside and focus completely on Jesus.
One of the coolest moments of the night didn’t happen between two students. We invited family and friends of every student that was getting baptized. One grandma brought a friend of hers to the service. At one point during the night, the friend leaned over to the grandma and said, “I think it’s time we bring Jesus into our conversations.” This friend had no connection to our ministry other than being friends with the grandma of a student that was getting baptized but she still heard the Gospel and still was able to meet with Jesus.
The pictures from the night blew up on Facebook. Students were talking about it all over Twitter. We were able to get a recap video in “big church” this past Sunday to celebrate the night. All of the attention was able to be focused on Jesus and students making the decision to follow him and be baptized. We were able to build up our students and celebrate their decisions in front of our entire church.
Oh, and as for the whole relationship between the student ministry and “big church,” I haven’t written a book but having your senior pastor and executive pastor witness a ton of students worshipping together is a pretty good way to establish that relationship.
Have you ever combined your high school and middle school ministry? Do you do it consistently? Why or why not? How does it work?