3 Things Student Pastors MUST NOT Do

A little over a month ago, I wrote a blog called “3 Things Every Student Pastor MUST Do” which gained some attention and made waves in the student ministry blogosphere. It even was posted as a guest post on Josh Griffin’s website. In that post I shared three things I believe every student pastor must do in their ministry. As a sequel to that post, I want to share a few things I believe student pastor MUST NOT do.

1. Do not separate the student ministry from the church. We need to remember our student ministry is a part of the overall local church. Our student ministry should be placed under the authority and direction of the church. We are not called to build a “church of young people,” but we are called to serve students in the context of the local church. The more you separate students from the church, the harder it is for you to get them plugged into the local church. If they do not get plugged into the local church, they will abandon church all together when they graduate from your youth group. They need to be plugged into the church, not just the student ministry. If a student pastor builds a student ministry that is separated from the local church, it becomes a parachurch ministry which holds many dangers (click here to see a post on the dangers of parachurch ministry).

2. Do not build inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex. Students pastors need to make sure they keep boundaries between themselves and the opposite sex. It seems like every time you turn around you hear of a student pastor or a senior pastor being disqualified from ministry because of a situation including someone of the opposite sex. This is why I place Godly women on my leadership team. This allows me to focus on the guys when it comes to one-on-one interaction and the ladies on my leadership team can focus on the girls.

3. Do not put student ministry before your walk with God and your family. Let’s face it, student ministry is non-stop craziness. But student pastors need to learn how to put student ministry on hold so they can focus on their walk with God and time with their family. Student pastors must not sacrifice their relationship with God and their family on the altar of student ministry.It’s not worth it! Jesus will take care of His church and the ministry of it. He has called you to be a Christian first, husband/father second, and a student pastor last. Recently, I read Brian Berry’s book As for Me and My Crazy House which is a great book for this topic.

There are many more things I could write about what we in student ministry should not do, but these are the three that are most on my mind. Feel free to leave your thoughts and add to this small list. At the end of the day, student pastors need to make sure they are doing student ministry according to God’s Word. His Word will not only direct us what we should do, but will also show us what we should not do.

Published by Austin McCann

Austin is the student ministries director at Redemption Chapel in Stow, OH. He has a BA from Piedmont International University and a Master of Arts in Religion with a Christian leadership focus from Liberty University School of Divinity. Austin enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball and golf, and spending time with his family.

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  1. Interesting perspective on point 2. It’s unfortunate that this tends to be the prevalent mindset in youth ministry when it comes to male/female interaction. I am all for taking precautions when meeting with the opposite sex, but I have found there is much opportunity for ministry when to occur a young women can hear the perspective of a male minister on subjects like “how guys think”, or “things to do with your Dad” or in giving Fatherly advice to father-less girls…I retired from youth ministry last year (at the age of 47) and after 20 yrs of youth ministry work I am still in contact with many of those girls via facebook, phone calls, texts, or Christmas cards…I treasure those relationships. Currently I am a mental health therapist. Half of my clientele are females whom I meet with behind closed doors (a necessity)…Some of the problems they bring to session need to be addressed by a male to facilitate healthy healing…I think the Christian/Ministry community would benefit more from learning how to effectively minister to the opposite sex than to simply prevent it from happening.

    1. Thanks for reading this post and leaving some great thoughts. Interesting to hear your perspective from your view. Much to think about regarding what you said. Thanks again!


    1. Brian,

      Thank you for taking to read this post and leaving a comment! I bought a copy of your book at SYMC and loved it! Very helpful book for myself and current ministry.


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