Posted by: Chris Sandel | August 14, 2008

Student Ministry and Longevity

I love student ministry.  I am one of the few lucky people who got to start in their ideal job right out of college.  I can’t imagine a better job for me than being a Jr. High minister.  There are lousy parts sure but in the 6+ years that I’ve lead Jr. High ministry I’ve never wanted to do anything else.

While I love my job and my church, there are some stereotypes of student ministry overall that I wish we could break.  I hate that student ministry is sometimes considered a stepping stone to the real ministry of being a preacher.  I understand it sometimes and I don’t necessarily fault people for thinking that way but students deserve better.  I hate that student ministers over the years have come across as lazy or unprofessional (often deservedly so) because they look at ministry has simply hanging out with kids and they ignore the fact that they have a significant ministry to parents and families as well.  Being a student minister isn’t an excuse to do things without excellence or a reason to play video games in the middle of a work day.

One of the most sad, but true, stereotypes about student ministry is that they tend not to stay long in any one place. That is a fact that really doesn’t make any sense because, for all of the talk people do about the importance of relational ministry, you’d think that people would commit to to be around long enough to build significant relationships. 

I have been at my first, and only, full time ministry for almost six years now.  I’d like to say that I always knew that I’d never leave but I think I’d be giving myself too much credit.  I’ve been blessed to serve in an amazing church and over time I’ve been able to see what longevity really means and now I can’t imagine ever leaving. 

When I think back to my own youth minister, Hank Sanford, I remember him telling us that he and his family had made a commitment to stay at my home church for the long term and he asked us to pray for him.  The amazing thing is that was 15 years ago and he is still there serving as student minister.  I can only pray that God will continue to use me the way that he has used him in the life of students. 

Thanks Hank for your year, and years, and years, and years of hanging out with kids and leading them closer to Christ.  Thanks for helping me realize my call to leadership in the church when I was still an ultra shy 6th grader, for taking me to lunch faithfully every week even when I’m sure you had lots of other work to do and most of all for always being there even as the years go by.

And now, on a lighter not, I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry at this video from CIY.  Sadly, I usually end up laughing.


  1. […] public service announcements like the ones you see on TV (or the one I linked to in my Student Ministry and Longevity post).  Then today I ran into this fun website featuring several fun ideas that poke fun at some […]

  2. Thank you for the lovely fewollship time last night. It was great to receive such encouragement and a great reminder of the true opportunity and responsibility each of us has with every interaction with our children. We are blessed with a very special church family and the C/S ministry is a huge part of that, at least for my own family. I’m so glad to be a part of it.

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