What I’ve Learned in 15 Years of Ministry

Hold on tight guys…a Middle School pastor is about to quote Tozer.

“Without question, the teaching of the New Testament is that the very God Himself inhabits the nature of His true children (That Incredible Christian.)”  – Tozer

Not that I understand it or can explain it…but what I do know is that God does not dwell passively in His people. He wills and works for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).  From this we can assume that the most satisfying place for a minister to hang out is “In Christ.”

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

This has been one of the greatest areas of growth in my 15 years of working with Middle School students. If I would have just focused on finding comfort in being “In Christ” early on in my ministry things could have gone much smoother for me.  Our identity can be found in many things. As Middle School pastors there is an expectation of the unexpected…different hair, different clothes, different hobbies and a strange love for Lock-Ins. But how different would your ministry look if you just had a strange love for Christ?

I can identify 3 things (keys) in my ministry that have evolved as I focus on just being “In Christ.” These things have been a catalyst in reaching more students.  

1. In Christ I can be Real.

He loves me…He loves you…and there is nothing greater. The God who knows me, the Real me, has chosen me. I don’t have to be fake to win his affection. The same goes for your students.

2. In Christ I can be Bold. 

It is satisfying to know that God is for me. He is working and willing in me for His good pleasure. Because of that we can stand boldly before students, knowing that God is doing the same thing in them.

3. In Christ I can really, boldly, Love students.

The only way we will reach lost and wandering students is if they trust the relationship. Our regular “churched” students will not invite their friends to a ministry that is led by someone they do not trust. I know that all of us have a limited amount of time to spend with students. But remember it is not about the quantity. If we are going to commit any extra time we have in our schedule to minister to students…why not really, boldly, Love them. Do your students, regular and visitor; know that you, in Christ, Love them? Or are you just a underpaid, 2 day a week, babysitter? (Side Note: Replace the word student with volunteer/parent/Sr. Pastor and see what happens.)


John has been doing youth ministry for 15 years and currently gets to serve the students and families at Fusion Bible Church in Sherman, TX. He is spoiled by a loving God, a out-of-his-league wife Alyssa, and 2 little offspring warriors he calls Phin and Ky. In his spare time he enjoys all sports except Nascar, all music except country and all food, as long as it’s lasagna.

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