5 Pro-Tips for continuing Student Ministry During COVID-19

This is a guest post from Brad Callaway, the Minister of Youth and Education at Unity Baptist Church, where he has been serving for the past 14 years. He lives in Ashland Kentucky with his wife and three children.

A lot of resources and information has been developed to help church leaders navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Most of that information, however, is focused on the church as a whole. But what about youth and student ministry?

This is a perfect season to take stock and refocus for the days ahead. Here are five pro-tips for student ministry from a ministry veteran.

1. Don’t Unplug! – As easy as it is to unplug from people during isolations, don’t. You’re students need you, if not more than ever right now!

2. Nurture Your Soul – Time has shifted during this period. What time you spent doing other things has surely opened a door to focus more on your spiritual health. If not, make that time. Teaching from the overflow of God’s grace is what your students need from you.

3. Be Aware of God’s Presence – Just because we are all running this life race at a different pace now, doesn’t mean God has stopped working and moving in our midst! He is so active around us!

4. Be Creative in Relational Opportunities – You’re students NEED to not just get text from you, but they need to see you and each other! Think outside of the box a little more and provide opportunities for students to safely build relationships.

5. Don’t Lose Heart – There is a calling upon your soul to lead students right now! Will things ever be the way they were before COVID? Probably not. Will your group look the same? Probably not. Will students fall away? Probably so. The harvest is ready, and you are a harvester. Go harvest souls for Christ. Lean into Christ and mentors for encouragement, guidance, and healing.

What did I miss? Leave a comment in the comment section below to continue the conversation about student ministry in these changing times.

Working Toward Effectiveness

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Yesterday I preached a message from 2 Timothy 2:1-7 on effectiveness in ministry. In the passage, Paul paints four pictures of effectives ministry for his associate, Timothy: a strategic teacher, a selective soldier, a self-disciplined athlete, and strong farmer. Yesterday I preached the message, today I’m working on putting it into practice.

The pictures presented in the passage all have an application to my life and ministry, but the picture of a selective soldier stands out me right now. The picture of a selective soldier is a picture of priorities. A soldier can’t follow the order of his commanding officer if he’s wrapping up in civilian affairs.

I have a tendency to try to be all things to all people. This seems like a positive quality, but it’s not. It’s not good for me to be involved in so many things that I don’t do anything well. It’s not healthy for me to find my joy and self-worth in making other people happy, no matter how noble the task. I know myself well enough to pushback against this natural impulse.

Effectiveness in life and ministry means setting priorities. As a result of yesterday’s message, I am trying to prioritize three things: preaching, gospel conversations, and quality time with my family. Some weeks are “messier” then others and I don’t set aside enough time to prepare for my preaching responsibilities. Since I have been gifted as a pastor-teacher and I have been called to serve Unity Baptist Church, effectiveness for me preparing and preaching to the best of my ability.

I believe that preaching is important, but so is personal evangelism. I’ve had the privilege of studying evangelism at the highest academic levels, but that doesn’t make me an evangelist. Sharing the good news about Jesus Christ and pursing gospel conversations makes me an evangelist. I am praying right now for opportunities to share Jesus this week.

As a vocational minister, my personal life and my work life are intertwined. Sometimes these roles get out of balance. At various times in my life, I’ve prioritized my work life over my family life. I honestly feel like I’ve improved in this area, but I don’t want to repeat my unhealthy patterns of the past. I just came back from a week-long family vacation and I praise God for an opportunity to prioritize time with my family.

These are just some of the things I’m thinking about to work towards more effectiveness in my ministry. I want to serve Christ as faithful soldier who choses his duties wisely.

What are you doing to improve your effectiveness in ministry?

Photo by Paulette Wooten on Unsplash

Devotional Thoughts for Leaders: How to Multiply Your Ministry

CB025268Ministry can be tiring, especially when you feel like you have to do everything yourself.  Kingdom work never stops.  There are always more people to care for and more opportunities to explore.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could multiply your ministry without having to do something extra?  It’s possible if you make up you mind to never minister alone.

Moses learned the hard way that it is “not good” to lead alone (Exodus 18:13-26).  Elijah shared his ministry with Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21, 2 Kings 2).  Jesus choose twelve disciples, walked through life with them, trained them, sent them out, and held them accountable (Mark 6:7-21, 30).  Paul continued this practice and always surrounded himself with a long list of assistants and associates, Timothy being the most notable (Colossians 1:1, 4:7-17).

Christian leaders who want to make a big impact on the world need to make one small decision: to never minister alone.  Do as much ministry as you possible can with other people who are willing to learn.   Not just for the sake of accountability, but for the sake of mentoring.  The church is in desperate need of more leaders, so don’t waste your leadership experiences on yourself; share them with someone.  This isn’t just for pastor and church staff. This is for anyone who is working to make a difference in the world for the sake of Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  In the short term, the people that you bring along with you will encourage and challenge you.  In the long term, they will multiply your efforts and continue making an impact when you are gone.

Here are 3 question to help you multiply your ministry:

1. Who can I invite to join me in ministry?
2. What do I do that I can share with someone else?
3. How can I help other people catch a vision for ministry mentoring?