1.03.2011

fighting the "island mentality"

just enjoyed reading kurt johnston's post on a few "baby steps" their student ministry took to close the generation gap, and it made me think of an article i recently wrote for our church's quarterly newsletter. figured i'd post it here as well.

FIGHTING THE “ISLAND MENTALITY”

Over the last year, Ignite Student Ministries has seen some significant changes, particularly due to the addition of the LC2 and the shift to 2 student services every Sunday morning during the adult services. It has been a year of watching God work in profound ways as new teens have made faith commitments and taken steps closer to God!

But with these changes our leadership team has been growing aware of a flipside danger that every Student Ministry faces to one degree or another… and it’s called the “Island Mentality”. In essence, we bring our young people to the “Student Ministry Island” during their teenage years, they grow and develop closer to God during that formative time, but then we “ship them off” to the “mainland” after graduation and discover that many seem to get “lost at sea” in this voyage back home. A Student Ministry can look like an island when the teens are not given consistent opportunities to integrate and blend with the adult ministries of the church.

Our leadership team recently got away together for a weekend and “Fighting the Island Mentality” in our setting was one of the things we discussed. From those discussions, here’s where we’re starting to land:

COMMON GROUND

There’s intentionally never anything ISM-related happening during these adult midweek services, and we encourage our students to be there for it! It’s an opportunity to worship, learn, and build community with the adults in the church. If you have a teen actively involved in ISM, get them actively involved in Common Ground too!

JOINT SERVICES

Every 2-3 months we shut down our student services one week and encourage the teens to join the adults in the main auditorium. These are not the Sundays to miss!

HABITS

Real long-term growth in our students will be seen as they develop personal habits during their teenage years that will help them grow on their own. The beauty is that these habits are not dependant on a person or a program in the Student Ministry. Encourage your student(s) to continually utilize the many resources at the “Habits Shack” in the youth room.

Parents… we need your help in fighting this “Island Mentality”! Are you in?

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