It’s important to listen to Johnny Cash’s words of wisdom when he says to “Get Rhythm,” when dealing in the context of the flow of a missional student ministry. And what I specifically mean when I mention the flow of missional student ministry is the NECESSARY BALANCE of Events and Process.
Typically, student ministry is known for being event driven. It’s the “if we build it, they will come” mindset. And for the most part, there is truth in that. The weekend retreats, the mission trips, the lasertag, the conferences, the nights of worship, the big program nights, etc. are good things! They create experiences and good moments, as well as a launching platform for relationships between students and leaders. They also lead to opportunities for students to hear from God. But here’s the thing – a ministry that is event driven does not give students an opportunity to process and discern what God is saying to them. Also, it creates only surface relationships between the students and leaders. It doesn’t go anywhere. It becomes plateaued and lacking in substance.
On the other end of this is a ministry that only does process. It can be good for a while and feel like there is depth to the relationships, the spiritual growth, and the conversations that take place. But eventually, it will turn itself inward, become flat, and won’t go anywhere.
Ultimately, for all of us in student ministry, our goal should be making disciples. If Jesus only did miracles with His disciples or only spoke to them in front of large crowds, but gave them no chance to unpack and discuss what they saw or what He said, then their relationship with Him would have only had a very little amount of depth to it – and discipleship would not have occurred. Or, if He just sat around a table and taught them about miracles and the importance of loving others, but never went out at did things with them then things would have been boring and stale – and discipleship would not have occurred. Jesus set the agenda for the balance between Events and Process and how that directly connects with discipleship.
Discipleship should always be the gauge of your student ministry. And discipleship is why it is important to have a balance and to “get rhythm” when it comes to the Events and Process.