3 Things To Do While You Search for a Student Pastor Job

I am currently in the process of trying to find my first full-time student pastor position. I just finished my BA from Piedmont International University and currently on staff at Weymouth Community Church in Medina, OH as a pastoral intern until a full-time job opens up. I have been job searching for about four five months now and the process is long, hard, and sometimes down right discouraging. Recently someone posted in a Youth Pastor’s Facebook group that they have been search for over a year! If you’re not careful you can become easily discouraged and impatient when looking for a student pastor job. But I believe this time periods holds a lot of good opportunities for us and things we can do that will help us find that perfect student pastor job. Here are three of them:

1. Connect with pastors. The main thing you should be doing while looking for a student pastor job is connecting with pastors, student pastors, and others in full-time ministry. Connecting with pastors is a way to get your name out there and also is a great source of encouragement during this time. In today’s world, at least for church jobs, the best way to find a job is not looking through all the job sites, but getting out there and connecting with other pastors and student pastors. They know what churches are looking and usually they will connect you with those churches that are looking. Knowing people and having a ton of connections is the best way to find a student pastor job so send out e-mails to area pastors, have lunch with other student pastors, and spend time connecting with others in full-time ministry around you.

2. Focus on your own spiritual growth. I believe one of the reasons God has us wait on things in life is because we are not ready for what He has in store. Maybe one of the reasons you are having to wait for a student pastor jobs is because God knows you’re not totally ready to be a student pastor. God may have things to teach you and areas He wants you to work on first. During this time, spend as much time as possible in God’s Word. Also, ask God to prepare you and make you the man He needs for that right student pastor job. It will be worth it to wait and become a better follower of Christ than to just jump into a position not being spiritually where you need to be.

3. Do whatever God puts in front of you. While your waiting to land that perfect student pastor position, serve in other areas that may not be specifically student ministry. For me, God put in front of me a pastoral internship that I am currently doing until a job opens up. This pastoral internship has hardly no student ministry stuff, but is mostly preaching, administration, and working alongside the lead pastor. This has been a good time for me because I have been able to learn more about other areas of church ministry other than student ministry. I will be a better student pastor in the future because of my time here as a pastoral intern. God may not put something like that in front of you during this time. He may put a job at a fast food restaurant in front of you. This may not be your first pick, but in order for God to open the door for you in the future to do something you love, like student ministry, maybe He wants you to humbly serve somewhere that may not be your favorite. Whatever you do during this time, do it for the glory of God and realize that everything is a learning experience that will help you be a better student pastor.

If you are in the process of looking for a full-time student pastor position feel free to contact me so we can mutually encourage each other and connect. I’m always reminded of the Casting Crowns “Already There” when I think about the long process of job searching. One line in the song says, “To You my future is a memory.” How encouraging! Our future, your student pastor job, is a memory to God. Don’t be discouraged, He will open the door when the time is right!

Two recommended books that will help your search: The Indispensable Youth Pastor and Before You Hire a Youth Pastor both by Mark DeVries.

The Well

Mark Hall is not only the lead singer of Casting Crowns and a full-time student pastor, but he is a great writer. His first major book is called Your Own Jesus which I have not had the chance to read. He also wrote Your Own Jesus Student Edition that is a great book for students.  He recently just wrote a new book called The Well. I had the privilege to see Casting Crowns in concert a few weeks ago and picked up a copy of this book there.

The Well is based on the story we read in John 4 where Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well and explained to her that He is the living water (I wrote a blog awhile back about evangelism principles we can apply from this passage. Check out that blog here). Mark Hall spends some time at the beginning of the book walking through this passage and explaining how we have many of our own wells that we draw from. The problem, Mark Hall explains, is that while we draw from all of own wells we are not drawing from the only true well which is Jesus. What Mark Hall does in this book is this, he explains the wells we tend to draw from and shows how they cannot sustain us. Then he goes on to share how we have the well of Jesus that is the only well that will sustain us.

If you’re looking for a great spiritual growth type book, this is a great book to get your hands on. It is easy to read, very practical, and hits almost every area of your life. I also was encouraged throughout the book because the Gospel stayed at the center. Mark Hall always went back to Jesus and the fact that only the Gospel can sustain us in this life. There is also a discussion guide that goes along with the book that makes it great for a book study or a small group study.

Click here to grab a copy of The Well on Amazon for a great price!

Student Ministry Advice from Mark Hall

This past weekend I was able to attend a Casting Crowns concert at Akron Baptist Temple in Akron, OH. I always enjoy going to see Casting Crowns because they are one of the few Christian band who have more of a worship-based concert rather than a performance-based concert. Something a lot of people don’t know about Casting Crowns is every band member is involved in student ministry. Mark Hall, the lead singer, is a full-time student pastor at their home church. The way they make this work is that they are at the church from Sunday to Wednesday night and the hit the road from Thursday to Saturday to do concerts. Because of his heart for student ministry and student pastors, they always have a time during their concerts where they invite all the student ministry workers to go to a room where Mark Hall shares with them resources and a word of encouragement.

With a growing number of students leaving the local church and turning their back on God after they graduate from our youth groups, we are all wondering how we can keep them involved in the church as well as consistent in their walk with God. This past weekend Mark Hall shared two things that he always saw in the students that stayed connected to the local church and continued to follow God after they graduated from his youth group.

They had a ministry. If we allow our students to just sit back and watch us do ministry, we will never really see them grow and we will rob them of God-given opportunities for ministry. Mark Hall said that the students who continued to follow God after graduation always had a ministry of their own while they were in the youth group. There are so many ways we can get our student involved in ministry, we just have to let them and encourage them to do it. Have students lead music, let them be greeters, let them set up and tear down equipment, let them decorate the youth room, let them even teach and preach! We are not successful in ministry until we can empower and allow the students to do ministry.

They were involved in one on one discipleship. With all the hype of activities and meetings, one on one discipleship can be easily left behind. If we want to see students grow and continue to follow God after graduation we must get them involved in one on one discipleship with an adult that is consistently following God. Mark Hall explained the way he does this in his ministry. He is currently discipling 21 guys and he meets with each of them for 30 minutes a week. In that 30 minutes they talk about life, read Scripture (they pick a short book of the Bible and walk through it verse by verse), and pray. He said by simply doing this for 3o minutes, students will gain an understanding of God’s Word as well as build a relationship with you that will help them grow in their own walk with the Lord. If we want to see students continue to follow God after graduation we must not only given them ministry opportunities, but also disciple them one on one.

I believe these two things are “must haves” for every student ministry. Without these two things your students will not grow spiritually and will probably not continue to follow God after they graduate your youth group. I know this because I was one of those students. If it was not for the opportunities for me to do ministry and having the discipleship, I would not be where I am today. I hope you take this advice from Mark Hall and implement it in your ministry or if you are already doing these two things already will be encouraged to keep going.