Entering the Teen Jungle: Practical Ways to Minister on Campus

The bell just rang. Students were pouring out of the school. My intern and I were walking into the maze of students to muscle our way to the main foyer. Students passing us stared at the donuts that we had. Others gave us a high five hoping we would give them some free sugar-dozed donuts. Some students recognized us and shouted out "pastor" or "hey", and asked us how to get a free donut.

We told them to follow us.

From the main foyer we focused on getting to the classroom. We knew students were waiting for us (more likely for the donuts). The lunch hour announcements were blaring and it was awesome to hear one of the student leaders talk about ALIVE club - a club for students who want to make a positive difference on campus... the same classroom we were going to.

EVERY Friday, we would have new students show up to ALIVE. Students would discuss topics on faith, teen pressures + issues, and practical ways students could help one another.

To be honest with you, it was the BEST time of the week for me. EVERY week, it was worth it to enter into the Teen Jungle. I have been asked MANY times HOW we were able to minister on campus. Here are some of my thoughts:

5 Reasons to be a Campus-Wide Youth Ministry

1.     Jesus was about reaching the lost with the GOSPEL,

2.     Jesus equipped the saved to make a difference in the world,

3.     We live in a post-Christian culture,

4.     It helps us to think BIG like God,

5.     EVERYONE and ANYONE needs to be shepherd.

5 Reasons You Need to Pastor Your Campus

1.     The mission field is on school campuses, not in our churches,

2.     You get to see the REAL needs of teenagers on campus,

3.     Being on campus will help you be CUTTING EDGE in how to share the GOSPEL with teenagers,

4.     EVERY Campus has needs that ANY youth pastors can help with,

5.     Because Jesus calls you and I to do so (John 3:16 is our example). He calls you and I out of our comfort zones and show Jesus to those who would not know otherwise

21 Practical Ways to Get Involved on a School Campus

1.     Pray for the campus leadership,

2.     Introduce yourself to the administration,

3.     Have a plan. The plan should be to simply serve the campus… at whatever capacity it is (i.e., co-coaching or coaching a team, hall monitor, sports at lunch hour),

4.     Learn how to equip key students for ministry. This could include campus prayer groups, small groups during lunch hour throughout the school, prayer cards, etc.

5.     Start up a breakfast program (partner with Starbucks),

6.     Partner with a teacher sponsor who would be willing to give their room to you for meetings. This can be before school, after school, or during lunch hour.

7.     Start a youth alpha at school,

8.     Start a campus club on site,

9.     Ask students to do PA announcements to promo the campus club,

10. Have a sign-up sheet for your campus club,

11. Design a campus club around student leadership, peer-to-peer influence, meeting needs on campus (this can include picking up garbage, cigarette butts in the smoke pitts, doing random games on site),

12. Build a contract or covenant form for the administration that you are there to meet needs, not to evangelize. This is an IMPORTANT one,

13. Be fully present on campus – sometimes being in a school FULL of teenagers can be intimidating. The best thing to do is to be friendly, engaging, and welcoming,

14. Design an outreach event after school hours,

15. Have school-wide giveaways to promote the campus club,

16. Have your youth ministry night on campus (rent the gym, etc. because it is neutral + can become MORE welcoming),

17. Start up a lunch hour intermural program once a week,

18.  Invest in the campus with proposals + money (40 developmental assessment survey, school assemblies, need-based programs),

19. Find sponsors to help fund ministry on campus (businesses, grandparents, local organizations),

20. Build relationships at ALL levels – teenagers, key youth from your YM, administration, leadership,

21. Be at ONE campus/week. For me, I found that the best time to be on a campus was lunch hours. I spent most of my lunch hours at different schools.

For more details, please contact me or ADD to the conversation.