7 Elements of Student Ministry Directing by Stacy McVane
Communication and relationships are the most important aspect of any church organization. Developing great relationships across the entire church staff, and not just within your department is crucial to the vision. In order to have unity and continue to stick to the vision of Shoreline Church – Unveiling God’s Love, I must be able to communicate and find some sort of commonality with everybody on staff. Respecting and adhering to other departments’ processes and systems gives you credibility and opportunity to serve one another. Developing relationships is always a blast!
I was having a conversation about communication with Joel Maguire, the Men’s Student Life Director of Shoreline’s Leadership College. He said, “Unvoiced expectations will always equal unmet expectations.” This is such a true statement. If it weren’t for the volunteers at Shoreline Church, we wouldn’t have a church. Volunteers want to know what is expected of them so they can meet and exceed expectations. People want to be asked to help and serve. Everybody wants an opportunity to make an impact.
From my perspective, these are some practical elements of directing student ministries from Ji-High to Young Adults:
- Be the person who has all the answers to all the questions. If you don’t have the answer, tell the person you will find out and get back to them. Make sure you follow through on what you say. I had four leaders call me about a specific incident. I let them know I didn’t have an answer because I wasn’t there, but I would get back to them. I researched, found the answer, and called each one of them back to dialog about the incident.
- Work yourself out of a job. Bring someone with you everywhere you go. Always be mentoring someone. Multiply your leadership. It’s not necessary to be at the Lift Young Adults service on Sunday nights because Nadine Matthews can run it.
- Make sure everyone is clear on the vision of the ministry and what the win is. The win at every Lift service is to have no first time guests sitting alone. Adrian Cardenas makes sure this happens at our Lift 7th-12th grade service with our Lift Rats (a team of teenagers who love on our guests) and Jenny Heggem makes sure this happens at our Lift 6th-8th grade service.
- Plan ahead and be flexible with change. Always plan, but always be ready to change the plan if asked to. If my supervisor, Pastor Earl McClellan wants some part of our Lift Young Adults service to change, I make sure to leave enough room for change to happen. If I have a question, I can always ask after the service. Take action at the moment and debrief later.
- Look for the gifts, talents, and passions of others. Jessica Worthey is passionate about 6th-8th grade young ladies and I knew she would love to lead a small group of ladies in the home of Grace Wall’s parents. Jessica loves her small group and the young ladies are learning about relationships and leadership with Jessica.
- Learn emotional flexibility. Be able to pray with someone and comfort them and then move on to tasks related the rest of the service.
- Be Prepared and be yourself. This is the best piece of advice I have ever received from my brother-in-law, Pastor Sam Mata. I do my best when I adhere to that advice.
After serving on staff at Shoreline Church for nearly eight years, I’ve had to learn to be confident in who I am. I am God’s child, made out of His love and grace. I have a purpose made specifically by God. If I concentrate on these truths and not on my position, there comes a freedom to rely and depend on God rather than striving to get things done in my own strength.
Stacy McVane is the Executive Director of Lift Student Ministries at Shoreline Church, Austin, TX. You can follow her on Twitter HERE and friend her on Facebook HERE. Visit her website at www.StacyMcVane.com.