This fall marks 20 years of working in student ministry for me. Very thankful the Lord has allowed me to serve with so many for so long. I have learned a lot along the way. Still learning. To celebrate that, I am doing a few week blog series of 20 for 20. 20 things I’ve learned in the last 20 years of ministry. Today is the first one, enjoy!

  1. Stuff is stuff; one day it will all fade away. People matter forever.
  2. You will learn so much about yourself by leading others.
  3. Taking time to hang outside of group always make group time better.
  4. God does not need you, but He wants you.
  5. You are not their parent, no matter the family situation. At times you might be the influence they listen to the most.
  6. Seasons change, but you don’t have to lose the relationship.
  7. Don’t take it too personally when a student makes a mistake.
  8. You can’t save them all. You can’t fix a human heart. He can.
  9. Influence and truth do not immediately come to fruition. Don’t be surprised if it takes years.
  10. Your students will remember way more about who you are and what you did than what you said.
  11. Celebrate together. Mourn together. Grow together. Community does not mean just asking questions and meeting; it’s about life.
  12. Choosing vulnerability always opens the door for the next level of group growth, but there is a line of what to share with teenagers.
  13. Don’t assume they communicate with their parents.
  14. They are not “yours,” they are God’s. You’ve been trusted with them for a season.
  15. Some of the best conversations won’t happen at group. They happen doing life.
  16. If you don’t make yourself available, don’t be surprised if they don’t reach out.
  17. Learn to let go and trust Him.
  18. It’s not about you.
  19. The teenage heart is more fragile than it lets on.
  20. Legacy is forever. Groups are temporal. Lead with the end in mind.