Saying Goodbye to Student Ministry: What I Miss About Student Ministry

When I knew God was calling me out of student ministry, I already knew there were going to be features of student ministry that I was going to miss. Now that I’m six months into my associate pastor position, those features have only been confirmed. Truth be told, however, the features of student ministry we are going to miss can be used as a temptation to make us stay. When God calls us out of one ministry and into another, there is going to be a grieving process. It’s only natural because of the blood, sweat, and tears we put into this particular calling.

Yet, grieving is a good thing, and taking time to reflect on all the many joys student ministry brings you is a true blessing. There are so many features of student ministry I miss; however, I have narrowed them down to my top three. With that said, here is what I miss about student ministry:

Youth Camp

I love youth camp. It is probably one of the most formative relationship building times a youth pastor has. Even the trip to and back from camp has provided me with some amazing opportunities to connect with students. Yet, even though camp has its stigmas and challenges (camp high anyone?), it is the one event I looked forward to every year. The lives of students, adults, and myself included, have been transformed because the ability to connect with God at camp. I am truly sad that I don’t get to go to camp anymore.

The Camaraderie

Student ministry is unlike any ministry in the church, and because it’s so special, connecting with other student ministers is a pure joy. Working with the group at, and my local group of student ministers, has provided me encouragement and strength to press on when ministry was bleak. Plus, being able to work with other student ministers to plan an event where students have an opportunity to be the Church is incredible. Student ministers are a special breed and I will miss the common ground which brings us together.

Teenage Goofiness

Of course I’m going to miss the students, but it’s the ability to be goofy with them that I’m going to miss the most. For example, randomly breaking out in song to the original Pokemon TV show with a group of adults will not only get you strange looks, but will cause people to question your calling. However, do that with a group of teenagers, and not only is it acceptable, but you will have a choir of students who will join in with you. As adults, we have to take life seriously, but sometimes we get so serious that we forget it’s okay to be goofy, silly, and geek out over the dumbest things. Working with teenagers reminds you that life doesn’t always have to be serious, and that there is plenty of room to have fun with God.

In the end, student ministry is awesome. Yes, it has its features that we completely loathe (which I will write about in my next post), but if we’re honest with ourselves, there are way more enjoyable moments than ones we hate. If you’re still in student ministry, thank God you get to participate in all the wonderful features student ministry has to offer. If you believe God is calling you out of student ministry, enjoy the time you have left, grieve the loss, and be thankful God allowed you the privilege to work with students.

What are your favorite features about student ministry?

If you’ve transitioned out of student ministry, what do you miss most about it?

Who is your favorite Pokemon? Only the original 151 count.


  1. Thankful for all you have contributed to the youth ministry community. Love your passion and heart for God. Praying for you friend as you transition to this next season.
    • Thanks Kolby for your prayers and encouragement! You rock and keep up the amazing work you do with students!
  2. As one who is stepping away from student ministry, and full-time/paid ministry altogether after this Friday, I've definitely reflected on this too. I knew I wouldn't be in student ministry forever, and I also knew I wouldn't be doing any other type of ministry because that wasn't my calling. But after 13 years, I'm (now) at peace with stepping away... Having said this, what I will miss the most is the "aha" moment when students realize their faith is their own and adjust their lives accordingly. There is nothing more encouraging to me because I can tangibly see God opening their hearts. I recently taught my daughter how to ride her bike. Oh the joy I felt as my heart was about to burst out of my chest seeing her pedal all on her own without falling! That's about the same joy I feel when my students learn to read the Bible on their own, pray on their own, go on missions, seek out community/accountability in college, etc. There's no greater joy.
    • I hear you on the "aha" moments. Its always awesome when it starts to click for a student, and know God allowed you to play a small part in it. Thanks for sharing!

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