The Thanksgiving and Christmas season has officially begun. Every year when Thanksgiving and November arrive, we see all over Instagram, and Facebook friends of ours take 30 days to share what they are thankful for each year. When we read these posts, we may respond with two different responses: aww how sweet and adorable, or we skip over the post. If we were all honest, we have reacted both ways to the 30 days of thanks, post. I hope that this blog you will read and not skip over the thankful season we have as Pastors.
Doing ministry every day and ministering to students has caused my wife and me to think about thankfulness and Thanksgiving in a different light. Working with teenagers and honestly considering the students in our ministry as part of our family we have come up with some things we are thankful for as we love on the teenagers within our ministry. The same things we as Student Pastor’s can be grateful for this year.
- Thankful to Preach the Bible
Every day of the week, whether at Bible Clubs (FCA, Fish Club, Bible Club, or something similar) or church Student Pastor’s get to preach the Bible. We should be thankful for every chance we get weekly to teach the Bible and take that time as an exceptional moment for our students.
- Thankful to do life with Students
Students love when their Student Pastor and their family live the church building to spend time with them. We need to be grateful for the moments we get weekly, monthly, and yearly that we have to help teenagers grow in their Christian walk. Doing life with students allow teenagers to open up and share their experience with us as their Pastor’s. When we leave the church building, we get to know students better. We need to be thankful for the moments we get to do life with students.
- Thankful for Pizza and Fast Food
Every Student Pastor’s diet I presume contains pizza and fast food at some point of the week with students. We need to be thankful for every slice of pizza and burger because it is another opportunity to spend time investing in the students God has put before us. The next time you eat pizza and fast food, I want you to take a moment to just pray for that student and thank them for allowing you to help them grow in their Christian walk.
- Thankful for Retreats and Camps
Can retreat planning, attending, and clean-up be tiring? Sure, it can become that way sometimes. We as Student Pastor’s need to be thankful for the retreats and camps because we are shaping the current and future church leaders of America. Retreats and camps open up the door for us to invest, learn, and grow the students within our ministry. Every time we plan one of these events we are creating a way for some students come to salvation, while others are learning steps to mature in their faith. Becoming thankful for retreats and camps will change the way you plan and develop your retreats and camps with students. Most Student Pastor’s only got 4-6 years with a student. Because of that time frame, every retreat and camp needs to be strategically planned. However, do not lose your thankful heart for the opportunity you get to attend retreats and camps with your students. Some of the most precious memories for me as a Pastor have come from retreats and camps.
5.Thankful for late night text and phone calls
I do not know if Student Pastor’s love sleep, but I know they probably love the rest that they do receive. Over the years late night text and phone calls received have become something to be thankful for in ministry. Why? Though the late-night text or phone calls are not regular occurrences in our lives, they do happen enough throughout a month that you become thankful for them. Every late-night text or phone call means that students trust you as their Pastor. The reason for them reaching out always varies, but they each have a purpose or need behind them. It could be a student needing prayer, a family going through a battle, or a student who just needs to vent; we get to answer those messages and calls to help guide them spiritually. Also, every late-night prank call means they trust and love your family. Though at that moment you may question their motive.
- Thankful for Students who come weekly
We must be grateful for the students who come weekly to a small group, youth services, and church. Every time students show up, no matter how high or low the number is that night; we get to invest, teach, and grow the students before us weekly. Take time to be thankful and enjoy the moment you have with teenagers in your ministry. They are the reason you serve on staff or volunteer team of a church.
We as Student Pastors have much more things to be thankful for, but whatever reasons you have to do ministry daily, weekly, and monthly, be grateful to God for allowing you to serve students. Whether the parents or students ever thank you, hear me tell you, Thank You for investing in students! Every Student Pastor’s ministry matters.
Dr. Scott Talley
Scott founded The Unwritten Pages in the summer of 2017. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor of Students at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Durham, NC. Scott has been ministering to students for over 14+ years where he has had the privilege of sharing the gospel with students while helping them become Men and Women of God. Scott created The Unwritten Pages to help minister to Pastors, Youth Pastors, and Youth Workers. Scott is an experienced and energetic teacher/preacher of the Bible and enjoys sharing the gospel with everyone.