Thursday, May 10, 2012

For Student Ministry Leaders: My Review of MAKE IT LAST: PROVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE STUDENT MINISTRY by Jeff Lovingood

Photo Credit: NavPress

Student ministry in a church (ministry for teenagers) is a unique and exciting opportunity to impact a generation of people who will be the voices of Christianity for good or bad, both today and in the future. It's an opportunity to help students discover the deep love God has for them and the incredible intentions he has for their lives. And it's an opportunity to the lives of families and the students' leaders so that a new and truly good way of life in the Kingdom of God is ever-expanding.

It's not easy and it can often be frustration, especially in the midst of church politics, but student pastors are in a position to catalyze true and lasting change by leading students to deeper and deeper faith in Jesus Christ.

But how do you manage a student ministry that is intentional and effective? It can be easy to fall into the role of activities director and the dreaded mere babysitter for teenagers to either keep certain people happy or to create numerical growth that makes a ministry appear healthy on the outside. The problem is you'll never feel you're really accomplishing anything of lasting value, and the students, families, and leaders you serve deserve much more. Plus, life with Jesus has always meant to be a creative adventure, so there are ways to bring people closer to the heart of God while having fun at the same time.

Jeff Lovingood, a student pastor at a church in Tennessee, has written an important new book on navigating a healthy, intentional, and effective student ministry. The book is called MAKE IT LAST: PROVEN PRINCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE STUDENT MINISTRY. Drawing from his many years of experience as a student pastor, Lovingood walks us through his strategies for serving students. What I really love about this book is something I've come to understand in the last couple years. Lovingood focuses on key relationships in student ministry among not just the students in the ministry, but the families of the students and their leaders as well. This creates a wider impact for the gospel in student ministry than just teenagers. Lovingood envisions an environment where parents are discipline their children while student ministry leaders come alongside them. Maybe an even more important aspect is the effectiveness of students taking ownership of their faith and reaching other students.

MAKE IT LAST encourages defining a clear purpose for the student ministry and a clear plan that centers around achieving that purpose. Lovingood covers the importance of working as a team with church staff, student ministry parents, and student ministry leaders. The more people you have on your committed to a strategy they clearly understand and can communicate themselves the better.

MAKE IT LAST is a perfect resource for any student pastor. I was a student pastor in a church for five years until about a year ago. I wish I would've had this book during my time in student ministry, and it will definitely be a go-to resource if God should lead me back into student ministry in the future.

I received this book for free for review from NavPress, and the opinions expressed in this review are completely my own

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