This past weekend I had the incredible privilege to preach God’s Word to 14 different youth groups from all over Wisconsin and Illinois at a camp in northern Wisconsin called Silver Birch Ranch. I would say that it has to go down as one of the greatest ministry experiences in my 15 years of working in student ministry!  And it may not be for any of the reasons you might think.  God did show up, and students did find hope in Jesus, and gain a passion for their friends who are far from God.  However, for me, some of the greatest joys in ministry come from doing ministry WITH my students.  From the very first retreat I ever preached until now, I have never done ministry alone.  I ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS, travel with a group of our students and interns.  Sometimes, camp restrictions, distance, or costs prevent me from bringing a team, but I will always bring at least one student with me.  I can’t possibly ever imagine doing it any other way!   

You may not travel and speak at camps just yet, or ever have the desire to do so, but the principle is transferable. Are you planning your own retreat or camp? Don’t do it alone! Ask your seniors to help you dream, and plan, and prepare, and even do the work of the ministry at it!  Are you feeling a creative block? Don’t struggle alone! Invite a small team of your most creative students to be a part of your creative/brainstorm team for your ministry! Are you preaching on a weekend for your main service? Don’t do it alone!  Involve several of your students in your message or during the service in some creative way.  One of the easiest ways, is to strategically involve students testimonies into your message.  This is ALWAYS powerful and I usually hear people say that was their favorite part of my message!  The point is… we should NEVER DO MINISTRY ALONE!

Here are a few reasons why I propose to never do ministry alone:

1. Ephesians 4:12 clearly lays it out for us that are job is to equip our people to do the work of the ministry.  Sometimes I think we get it messed up and think we are called to equip ourselves to do the work of the ministry.

2. Your students will be discipled and grow exponentially in the process.  It’s no secret that Jesus didn’t do his discipleship in classrooms with the latest DVD curriculum from Group Publishers.  Discipleship for Jesus, was the roll up your sleeves, let’s do ministry together, and get dirty kind of stuff.

3. Your students will find their unique gifts and their calling. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have watched students come alive while doing ministry together at camps & our youth services.  Several of our students have realized & heard their calling to full time ministry through us giving them the chance to minister!  Specifically in my last two camps, our students who have come along, have commented that doing this was some of the most rewarding moments of their lives.  My desire and vision is that our students would become addicted to doing the work of the ministry!


4. It’s FUN!  There is not many things more rewarding than doing ministry with my students!  I absolutely thrive off of empowering them to use their gifts and seeing them minister to other students!

You may choose to do ministry alone, because you think it gets done just the way you want it, but for me…

How about you? I would love to hear some feedback on creative ways you have involved students in the work of the ministry.



Jon Brown serves as Lead Student Ministries Pastor at Kenosha First Assembly near Chicago, Illinois overseeing a half dozen employed staff, dozens of youth workers and hundreds of students each week as part of H2O youth.  He has served this church and ministry for nearly a decade, seeing it grow numerically and in spiritual depth, making a vital impact on the surrounding unchurched community.

Twitter: @pjon