As I was preparing to write this article, I decided to look back on my notes to see when the first one was written and I started doing this in 2019. It’s been almost 3 years of writing these monthly articles and I can’t believe I’ve been given this opportunity to give my thoughts on my vision for student ministry in Orange County. My vision for Orange County student ministry is that every one of our 149 OCSBA churches would have healthy student ministries that are better together.
With so many new churches joining our association recently, I think it would be good to share this vision again. We all have heard the stats about how graduated students are leaving the church at an alarming rate. The numbers vary depending on which study you look at, but from my personal experience, it’s in the 80-90% range. By God’s grace, my student ministry has been able to cut that number in half. How did we do it? By being sure that we are healthy in 4 different ways. In my 15+ years in student ministry, I have found that there are 4 components necessary for a healthy student ministry and that can be remembered with the acronym, LIDS.
Because I will be expanding upon these topics through these monthly articles I am not going to go too deeply into each section, so I will just give a quick summary. The first healthy aspect that we need in student ministry is a healthy leadership team. If we want to have thriving student ministries then we need healthy leadership teams that can serve out of the overflow of their relationship with God. The second is a healthy student ministry identity. The identity of our groups must be Biblical and contextual. In other words, they must fit into our context and not be misaligned with Scripture. Third, we must have a healthy discipleship process. We need to think about how we are moving people to become more like Christ. Lastly, we must have a healthy strategy. Our strategies should not be reactive, but rather they should be intentional.
I hope that this teaser will give you some things to chew on to make your student ministries healthier. Some years my own youth group is healthy and some years it’s not. I am definitely working on growing in these ways every year. Let’s grow together. If you want to chat, please reach out, I’d love to learn from you as well.