I had the privilege of posting a couple of guest posts on some other great youth ministry blogs this past week. The first was on Josh Evans’ blog called Bloom Where You’re Planted:

These were some of the most powerful words ever said to me. It came at a time when I was looking around in frustration at my ministry, my eyes were wandering for more and I was always wishing for a bigger crowd in a sexier ministry. How selfish, naive and sad. God had called me to my church, but my brokenness inside was already thinking about next and more and bigger.

The second was on Brooklyn Lindsey’s blog called The Best Kept Secret in Your Church:

I recently realized that our youth ministry was one of the best kept secrets in the church. I walked around the adult services last week and read every word in the church bulletin – and found hardly a mention of our high school ministry. Now certainly in a megachuch with so much cooking you could explain away this news, but I know from my 7 years in a smaller church this happens everywhere.

Click the links above to read the whole articles – thanks for the opportunities to share, too!


Have you ever felt like a failure? Okay, we all have at some point, because we all fail. We all do certain things that may be great ideas, but go about it the wrong way, and utterly fail. One thing that I desire is for others’ to learn from my mistakes and failures. I try to do this with learning from others’ failures, and hopefully they can learn from mine as well. Today, I want to give you the top 5 failures that I have committed in student ministry:

  1. Epic Fail #1- Train and Equip Parents- As I have grown in student ministry (not going on 7 total years), I have learned that the parents represented in our ministry is as important as the students we are ministering too. Now, I am trying to teach, share resources with, and help parents become better parents to effectively parent the teens of today’s culture. If you are first starting out in ministry, go ahead and begin equipping the parents to build stronger families.
  2. Epic Fail #2- Recruit a team of adult leaders- In my earlier years of ministry; I had a couple of leaders, but did not set up an adult leadership that would take us to the next level like I should have. Regardless of the number of students in your ministry, it is important to begin building a team to take your ministry to the next level.
  3. Epic Fail #3- Inform parents when disciplining a student- There have been some times where a student gets in trouble, and I do not inform parents, and then the parents come back with a twisted story from their teenager, and I have to backtrack a bit, and build their trust and relationship back. I have learned that when a student gets in trouble or has to be corrected in our student ministry on an event or on Wednesday night, it is always important to mention it to the parents. I do not care how small, but in doing so, it builds relationships with the parents, and builds a greater trust from them to you.
  4. Epic Fail #4- Think through games and pranks- I am a prankster, and am personally okay with pranks. My failure is that we have not totally thought through pranks in our ministry. At camp we decided to play “human clue” and fake a real murder with the students. It seemed like a fantastic idea, but when it played out, we had students crying, had a girl faint, had a young boy call his mom for a lawyer, and upset some families that were at camp. What seemed like a fantastic idea was horrible, because it was not thought out. Think out your ideas of what could happen, and it will save you a lot of problems.
  5. Epic Fail #5- Building relationships with the local schools- Do this first. This should be one of the top things in your ministry that you are consistently doing. I have wasted time in this area at my ministry, and now am trying to play catch up. Building relationships with schools takes a great deal of time, and it is important that you stay at it, and consistently plan time to build this relationship.

So, do not fail at these things, and try your best to learn from the epic fails that I have done in our student ministry.

Josh Evans is the student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in the Winston Salem, NC area. He has been a mentor and pastor to students for 4 years. You can connect further with Josh on his blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

The more that I am in student ministry, I realize that my ministry is not totally to the students. For years, student ministry became a ministry specifically for students, but not the parents. Now, it seems that student pastors and leaders are realizing that way of doing ministry created many problems, and is not the way that student ministry was designed to be. Student ministry is not a baby sitting service, but it is an avenue that we should be involved in to assist and partner with the parents! You are not the parent of that student, but you should be assisting and partnering with the parents. I work with parents, and I deal with many issues like you do. Today, I want to give you a few quick thoughts on empowering your parents to do their job:

  1. Remind them that their students are their responsibility- Now, do not be ugly about this, but this is the truth, and they need to hear it. We are not held responsible for our students, but their parents are. I believe that parents will be held accountable for the way that they raise their students, not the youth pastor. Parents need to be reminded of this truth.
  2. Listen to their struggles and frustrations- Do you have those parents who always come to you with their problems and struggles? Sometimes, it can be aggravating, but in reality, that is not necessarily a bad thing. They are venting to you looking for hope, and we have the hope of Jesus to give them! Give them hope in the midst of their frustrations and struggles.
  3. Train your parents practically- Learn about student culture, and what parents are facing in their homes. I have a 1-year-old baby girl so I do not know a lot about a student in my home, and what we will face, but I can read and learn about it. Find the struggles, and train your parents through emails, blogs, resources, and meetings on how to overcome the different practical obstacles that they face with their teenager. When I first started out, my meetings and newsletters were solely informative, but there was no training. I now have realized that I wasted a couple of years of ministry and had to grow to learn that training parents is one of my main responsibilities. If you are not training them, do not expect to have a strong family ministry!
  4. Love them- This is a lost principle in student ministry if you ask me. We love our students, and we would do anything for our students, but what would happen to our student ministry and our church if we treated each parent that same way? What if you went out-of-the-way for the parents like you do for the students? It is just a thought. Love them!

[Question]: How are you actively empowering and partnering with your parents?

Josh Evans is the student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in the Winston Salem, NC area. He has been a mentor and pastor to students for 4 years. You can connect further with Josh on his blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

Recently, Brian Baker began a student pastor “get together”. We had no name and really hardly any idea of where it could be headed, but the Lord has chosen to bless his vision. He had a vision of student pastors getting together to share ministry ideas, vision, burdens, and connect with one another. The Lord chose to bless this what we now call “Triad Youth Pastor Fellowship.” We began meeting several months ago, and the Lord has blessed our time. It has been an awesome opportunity for me to connect with other student pastors in our area. I have been a student pastor for years, and we have never had a consistent “get together” such as this. So, I am stoked about what God is doing. I love people and I love getting to know new student pastors. I want to give you a few reasons why you as a student pastor need a student pastor community regularly!

  1. Burden Sharing — Recently, my wife said to me after a youth group meeting, “what is wrong?” I responded to her, “I cannot explain it to you or anyone else. I can only explain it to my student pastor friends once a month when we get together!” Now, that was quite funny, but sometimes there is a great deal of truth in this as well. The only people who I feel genuinely understand what I go through are other student pastors. If you are not a student pastor, you do not get what student pastors have to go through. This has been a great time for me to interact and share my burdens with others. Each month, we go around the room and share what God has been doing in our lives and share any burdens with one another. The Bible commands us to carry each other’s burdens.
  2. Prayer — You have to pray with one another. You need other local men in ministry who can pray with you about what God is doing and wants to do in your ministry. I need and covet the prayers of our local student ministries around us. Our student ministry relies on this! Also, I rely on the prayers of others. There is nothing like going to a student pastor fellowship and hearing how some of these guys have been praying for me this past month.
  3. Connecting — I love connecting with new student pastors. When I moved into the Winston Salem area to be the student pastor at Union Grove, I started googling any churches in our area, and finding who the student pastors were and adding them on facebook. They were probably wondering who this weirdo was that was adding them, but I wanted to connect with them. This is my passion. I love connecting and interacting with other people in ministry through social media. When I go to this student pastor fellowship, we get to make new connections that you might not ever make otherwise. I went this past week, and met 3 new youth pastors in our area that I did not even know existed. When I got home, I had 3 new friend requests. Now, we are connected, and look forward to growing an even deeper connection with one another.
  4. Sharpen yourself — The Bible says that friends sharpen one another. This is what being friends with one another should do to you. I have some close friends in student ministry in my area that make me a better follower of Jesus.
  5. Ideas — We discuss ideas regularly. How can we do ministry better? We discuss better communication with our students. We discuss what is working and what is not working. It is basically a time to get together and learn how to do student ministry more effectively. It is similar to you getting in front of your computer and reading the top student ministry blogs for several hours at a time.
  6. Bible study- We do a quick mini devotion each month. A different student pastor comes and opens the Word to share a quick thought with the group each month. It is like 3-5 minutes long if that, and it is important for me to be challenged in this meeting each month. I love studying and discussing the Bible with these guys.
  7. Growth — The last couple of thoughts are very similar, but there is a bit of difference. I love growing with these guys. I love improving our ministry and learning how to minister more effectively.
  8. Fellowship — Bottom line, it is relationship building. You need this! You need healthy relationships outside of your church! You need someone to talk too that is not a member of your church.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why I think that this is important to have in your area. If you do not have it, I encourage you to start one for student pastors in your area. You will be glad you did, and probably the guys in your area will be glad that you did as well. If you are in the triad area of NC, and would like to connect in our group, send me an email at joshhevans@gmail.com and we would love to connect with you!

Josh Evans is the student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in the Winston Salem, NC area. He has been a mentor and pastor to students for 4 years. You can connect further with Josh on his blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

We often discuss church growth or student ministry growth. This is a topic of conversation for good reason, because we all are interested in building our student ministry. Here are a few reasons why your student ministry may never grow:

  1. Lack of Prayer — This is the biggest part of growth. You must daily pray and ask God to build your student ministry. You must be praying for your ministry to grow. Do not expect any growth (or perhaps the wrong kind of growth) if you are not daily praying over your ministry. Bathe it in prayer, and trust God for the growth.
  2. Lack of communicating clear vision — This is often times that the biggest problem with growth. You have to regularly communicate vision to the people. It must constantly be in front of the people. Then, you must live out the vision. “If your church does not know where it is supposed to be, then, they will attempt to go everywhere and eventually wind up nowhere.”
  3. Leadership — Ultimately, it could be a reflection on YOU. Make sure you are a passionate leader. Make sure you are living the Word. Make sure that you are carrying out the vision and communicating it clearly to your people.
  4. Selfishness — This can be a reflection upon leadership and the people. Sometimes, God may want to take the church in a place where you do not want to go, but you are still responsible for going in that direction. Do not be selfish and want the church to be what you want. Also, your people must not be selfish in trying to create the church that they want to have. It is not about us, but all about Him.
  5. Energy — If you fill the leadership with energy-less people, you will create a energy-less congregation. Be energetic and passionate, and the congregation will follow suit. Create a load of energy every service for the people to desire to come back.

Let’s make sure that we are doing everything that we can to grow our ministry!

Josh Evans is the student pastor at Union Grove Baptist Church in the Winston Salem, NC area. He has been a mentor and pastor to students for 4 years. You can connect further with Josh on his blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.