The Student Centered Approach

It was the first time I started to get stage time regularly.
I was working at a smaller church at the time, and we had a good mix of students that grew up in the church and students that did not and came from broken homes.

It was a normal Wednesday. We had Costco pizza, played toilet ball (indoor baseball with a toilet roll wrapped in duct tape), had worship, and then the lesson. Yet something happened that changed my approach to student ministry.

I had prepared the best sermon EVER.

Ok, maybe not eve,r but second to the sermon on the mount! In the middle of this sermon that no one remembers, a girl in the audience had the audacity to raise her hand to ask a question. I wanted to go on preaching; instead, I stopped because it had caught me off guard, and I said, “yes, what is your question?”

From there, a conversation started amongst myself and the students that was challenging, encouraging, and intimidating all at the same time.

This small moment on a mundane Wednesday night shifted my paradigm for student ministry.

I realized that my perception of student ministry was that of a Pastor centered approach. My mindset was that ministry revolves around the youth pastor, the sermon, and the platform.

This discovery brought me to a more student-centered approach. The ministry revolves around students. Less preaching and more interactive ministry. Reaching students where they at mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. If that means stopping your “perfect sermon” to answer a question, you do that because that question could raise awareness of how well you’re reaching the students.

These questions can be intimidating because they can be a true reflection of our approach to student ministry.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost.

Alex Martinez is a team member at Reframe

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