Collaboration – The Secret Sauce in Reaching Every Student and School
When Andy arrived in Wisconsin to take a youth pastor position, what he experienced in the culture jolted his view of student ministry.
In less than a six-month span three students from a local school had taken their own lives. It rattled the community and specifically shook to the core a group of youth leaders from local churches. The leaders had been meeting occasionally to eat together, share news and plan an event or two. But now life could not go on as normal. They had to take determined action if they were going to help stop the deadly trend. They had to move from being an occasional group that shared calories to a missional movement that set it’s sites on touching every student in their community with the hope of Christ. They called themselves the Allies.
Their action was decisive. They started to meet every Thursday morning at Andy’s church to pray for the students and schools in their city. They teamed-up with a para-church campus ministry in their community and provided student and volunteer leadership from their churches so that every school would have an outreach. Once a month they pulled together all their youth, from their churches and ministries, for a citywide youth group meeting. There they divided the kids by schools to pray for their fellow students and be equipped to lead spiritual and gospel conversations.
Has it been easy? Not so much at first. There were, and still are, theological differences in the group. And there are personality bumps and an occasional pride issue. But they all agree on the Gospel and on prayer, and today they deeply love each other as brothers and sisters. The students from their ministries have become so accustom to other leaders ministering to them that they think of all the pastors in the Allies as their youth pastors.
Most importantly the suicides have ceased. The schools have recognized the efforts of the youth leaders. And there is now a ministry to every school so that every student is in arms reach of the Gospel and the hope of Jesus.
When we venture into school-focused ministry we enter a world that necessitates networking. Why?
- The size and need of the student mission field requires significant manpower, resources and strategy.
- Within the Body of Christ there is an array of talent and gifts that is vital for reaching every student.
- And by these same gifts, leaders in a network minister to one another with encouragement.
- In many communities there are more than one church or ministry that are attempting to reach out to students. The teens at the local school and the entire community can vividly see if among the Christians there is a competitive spirit or a united spirit. What they see speaks louder than our words.
Here is a brief diagnostic to help you with networking:
- Are you helping build healthy relationships between ministries that are eliminating competition?
- Do you experience mutual support with other youth leaders, and shared strategy to reach students?
- Who could you contact this week to meet and pray together for students and schools?
Reaching every student and school requires a team effort!
By unpacking the Campus Ministry OS you will find more resources for networking.