"After deciding to go into youth ministry, I thought college would prepare and teach me how to run a successful student ministry program."
Now I am in my junior year at Anderson University with only a few semesters left, but my greatest learning experiences when related to student ministry have been outside the class room. As a freshman I began volunteering with Mark Shaner at East Side Church of God in Anderson and also running a Campus Life program in a local middle School. This past summer I was able to work alongside Matt Gaylor as his intern at North Webster Church of God. These experiences have taught me more than I could ever learn in a class room. I think there are two great ways to learn how to run a student ministries program, from experience and from a teacher. Working with North Webster’s student ministries under Matt I was able to do both.
I was involved in my own student ministry and have been around many others, but the way that Matt runs his ministry was unlike any program that I had been a part of. I have seen student ministries that allow the students to be in the worship band or help plan events, but Matt has a youth leadership team that runs the programs. His leadership team is a group of high school students who are then broken into smaller groups for certain task. At first glance, when I realized how the program was run I thought Matt was being lazy making his students do all his work, but if you stick around you will see that’s not the case at all. Since Matt is not running every aspect of the program he is able to focus on where he can be the most impactful any given night. The students who are running the program are a very close group and their faith is the most developed of any single high school group I have been around or apart of. This is all because of the fact that this program allows them to put their faith into action from teaching others on Sunday morning, to serving others on a mission trips, the students are in action. Even though I was only there a summer, I saw the impact that students can have on their peers.
My experience as an intern made me excited to work with students and gave me an opportunity to learn more in one summer that I ever thought possible. I know that there are other leaders such as myself that who could benefit from this program. This will bring together student ministries around the country and provide young leaders with a chance to learn how to run an effective student ministries program.