So far we’ve heard about reaching Kids and middle-schoolers for Christ. Next up are the high schoolers!

Today we’ll be hearing from Caleb Luke. He’s the High School pastor for The Well at Capo Valley Church in San Juan Capistrano, CA. He’s a guy that I’ve just recently gotten to know through blogging and sharing ministry ideas. I’m excited to give him an opportunity to share his methods on reaching high school students! I think you’ll be blessed by his heart for students like I was.

Check out his blog HERE.
Follow him on Twitter HERE.
If you know someone who serves with high school students (or mid-school too), make sure to email them a link to this blog.

1. As someone striving to reach high-schoolers (9th-12th grade), what are some creative ways to reach them on their level?

1-    Content, content, content! The content that you feed the students needs to be biblically sound. The tendency, when relating to students, is to compromise the truth of the gospel. Your students do not need just another shoulder to lean on but a strong influence that will guide them to God through biblical truths.
2-    Students need a leader not another “bro.” If you are in student ministry you are probably outgoing and easy to be around. Make sure when you are being followed by students that you are mindful of leading, not just relating. Leading is a cute term for having influence. You will be most effective when you lead by following, following Jesus that is.
3-    Current events are a powerful tool with students. As we are up to date with current events we have the opportunity to share God’s heart in these situations. This is a great testimony that the scripture is relevant to them.

2. When developing a high-school ministry, what are some important things to keep in mind?

1-    What is the community all about? You want to be relevant in your approach with the community.  Offering a surfboard to a student in Idaho will not be as effective as in California. Be mindful of your community and reach out accordingly.
2-    Students want fun- but fun will not regenerate their souls. Events or activities should not be the primary goal of the ministry. Activities are a great resource for ministry but remember it is simply the means, not the end.
3-    Most importantly, it is being cross-centered not cause-centered. The goal as ministers is to disciple the students God has given to the ministry. Engage, Equip and Empower!

3. How important are volunteers when it comes to ministering to high-schoolers?

1-   Student ministry workers tend to be the student pastor, maintenance guy, audio-visual guy, event coordinator etc. Remember our Ephesians 4 model. Equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. We are more effective when there are 4 of us rather than 1.
2-    Students have a unique perspective. They typically think the student pastor is the ideal Christian. It is extremely important that students see more than the pastor. We want to point to Christ not take all the ministry opportunities because you are in danger of being their strength.

4. What are 1 or 2 lessons that you learned the hard way that stand out to you about ministering to high-schoolers?

1-    When you have a ship in the ocean it takes time to turn right or left. I have made the unfortunate mistake of trying to turn the ship on a dime and knocked a lot of students off their seats. Remember that students are emotional and attached to comfort. Any change is difficult so we need to be 5-6 steps ahead of any change to alleviate any disturbance.
2-   Keep parents in the loop. I once told a pastor of mine that student ministry is so much easier because we just deal with students, he quickly responded, “it is actually much more difficult because you have to deal with both, ALL the time.” I have learned by mistake that when the parents are out of the loop you are asking for trouble. 

5. What are some great ways to really get into the lives of high school students?

1-   Be interested in them, not what they do. If a student is involved with an athletic team, drama or school achievement, remember, be excited for them, even if you aren’t interested in the activity.
2-   The times that are tough are the times where deep relationships are built. When the student is dealing with major issues or struggles they will remember your encouragement. Being more experienced in life as a student ministry director or pastor you may look at a situation as no big deal but keep the students emotions in mind. You want to avoid assuming that the student is strong enough to endure.

Try to remember 10 sermons that have affected you in your life… Now think of ten people that have had a great influence on you. Allow your ministry to be a relational ministry that is cross-centered!