A Few Results
I have reviewed the results of our “Student Ministries Survey” this past Sunday. I only received 32 back with responses … which is a little low … but, then again, we were way down in attendance on Sunday.
Anyhow … here are a few things that stand out so far:
- The majority of respondents expressed their desire to see a “Comprehensive Professional Youth Ministry.” However, there was a significant minority that would be satisfied with a “Weekly Bible Study With Occasional Events.”
My Take: I desire so much more for our students than a weekly meeting and occasional fun stuff. It is the dream of my heart that we might someday see our students (and their families) as dedicated to the church and their kids’ spiritual development as they are to their sports (athletic development) and other extracurriculars. There seems to be a disconnect from dedication and sacrifice when it comes to youth ministries in the church today. Think about it … our students sacrifice hours each day in the stifling heat and under tremendous mental and physical pressure in order to pursue athletics, band, clubs, etc… Yet, student ministries and church events are more of an “elective” and seem entirely dependent on the “fun factor.” It just doesn’t compute for me.
- There was an array of answers as to why some students / families were not involved over the past six months. Some reasons given included: “I don’t know.” (I liked the honesty of that one!) “Too busy with sports.” “Parents were not allowed to participate.” “My kids didn’t like it.” “The mix of all age groups from grades 6 through 12 wasn’t good.” “Lack of parental encouragement and support.” There were a few other responses.
My Take: I agree that age groups need to be separated (middle school / high school), but that’s hard to do when numbers are small and the number of volunteers is even smaller. I also want a ministry where parents are not only involved, but are an integral part of the overall strategy. As far as other responses, those are largely a matter of family priorities … which families have to sort out on their own.
- As far as student ministry leadership … about 65% expressed a desire for a full-time cradle to college Student Pastor. About another 30% want a part-time youth minister. About 5% say volunteers should do it.
My Take: Interestingly, for the 30% who would like a part-time youth minister, most also expressed a desire for a “Professional Youth Ministry.” That’s kind of like wanting to eat caviar on a potted meat budget … if you know what I mean. And as far as volunteers getting the work done – I have yet to see a single youth ministry ever successfully organized and managed by all volunteers. Student Ministry is a calling … and a special one. It takes one who is called to step into the work, put up with the kids, put up with us parents (trust me – worse than the kids sometimes), and deal with the social intricacies of modern student life and ministry. Personally, I think it’s time that we “bite the bullet,” take a step of faith, and call a full-time pastor to head up all fo our cradle to college student and family ministries.
- The Money Question. I know this is the one that most people have on their minds. There were a handful of non-responses. I’m not sure what that was about. But, for the most part, the overwhelming majority seem to believe that we are capable of a $35,000 – $40,000 investment in a full-time Family Ministries Pastor. And most all who responded thusly indicated they would give sacrificially toward that end. Only two people responded that they believe we are not capable.
My Take: Our church is 11 years old. Now that I think about it, it seems almost ridiculous that we have not grown to a second full-time staff pastor yet. I guess that I have grown accustomed to wearing a lot of “hats.” Pastoral care, outreach, contacts, secretarial work, leading the praise band, etc … I stay plenty busy. So what largely goes undone is anything associated with children’s / student / family ministries. It’s just not my calling. Organizing, training leaders, making all that happen is just not in my DNA or in my spiritual giftedness.
I need someone with those gifts to come on board and help pick up that slack and help me get things done.
Sooo … all that is to say … I think it’s high time we take things to the “next level.” I look forward to your comments on Facebook.