The One Thing I Wish I’d Been Told About Student Ministry

Samm Simmons   -  

I was 22 when I started volunteering with HDC’s Student Ministry team. Fresh out of college and feeling like this was the area God was calling me to serve in, I was nervous and excited. It has been 10 years this year, and I’m still amazed and grateful that God has been able to use me in students’ lives. There are some things I wish I had known starting out, and there are some things I wish I’d known each year I returned, but there is one thing I wish I’d been told.

Ministry Changes, but the Mission Doesn’t

Everything about student ministry was new to me the first year I served. Small group questions, games, Christmas parties, global events, and much more, were all a part of the learning curve. Going into my second year, I thought I would have a better handle on things, and some things I did, but many things changed. Other volunteers left the ministry, our roles as volunteers shifted, students moved on, and it seemed in my second year that there was as much of a learning curve as the first. 

Maybe this doesn’t surprise you, but every year I’ve done ministry has felt like this, leading me to conclude that ministry changes, but the mission doesn’t. Since I’ve had the privilege of working on the Student Team, I can see that every year we are trying to improve, every year there are things we can do with more purpose, and the model doesn’t always fit the changes that need to take place in order to pursue students better and draw them toward Christ. 

Being flexible with how ministry is done and what it looks like to do ministry better has been a process, but one thing never changes: the mission. Preparing students to change their worlds for Jesus has always been the point; building relationships with them and investing in them are all consistencies that persist year to year.

As you look at the year to come, whether you’re just starting out or if you are going on your fifth or tenth year, I hope you remember this. We love students; their potential for pursuing Christ is incredible and inspiring, but none of that happens if you aren’t there championing and praying for them. 

Things change, and ministry changes, but you have the potential to be the unchanging factor in their lives, and I’m so grateful for each of you that have chosen to jump into the wild ride that is student ministry.