It’s Baseball season and I love baseball. It’s a great time of year where the MLB season is in full swing and of course, little league. I’ve always been an avid follower and fan of Major League Baseball since I was old enough to understand. I’ve always been big sports fan and I follow closely whether it’s baseball, basketball, or football but one thing about baseball has always stood out to me: The need of intense intentional investment in the younger generation of players.
Good little league teams teach the young kids the fundamentals starting at age 4. Great MLB teams have what they call: farm systems. It’s the system that younger players get developed through to reach the Major Leagues. They call this rookie ball, single a, double a, and triple a. The teams that win consistently and sometimes start dynasties have the best farm systems. This means they intentionally invest in them. The teams that don’t win neglect their farm and try to pay big money for transfer free agents.
What does baseball have to do with student ministry?
Student ministry is often overlooked in the church today whether it’s a church that’s trying to grow through transfer membership or a student pastor waiting to be a senior pastor or looking for the next big opportunity overlooking the God ordained opportunity in front of them.
Churches stunt their growth when they neglect passing the Gospel to the next generation just like baseball teams who neglect their farm system.
Psalm 145:3-5, “Yahweh is great and is highly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable. 4, One generation will declare your works to the next and will proclaim Your mighty acts.5, I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty.”
Titus 2: 1-8, “But you must say the things that are consistent with sound teaching. Older men are to be level headed, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine, They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, home-makers, kind, and submissive to their husbands so that God’s message may not be slandered. In the same way, encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything. Make yourself an example of good works with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be ashamed, having nothing to say about us.”
Scripture tells us it is the responsibility of the whole body to mentor the young generation. Students are now more unchurched than ever with fractured and broken family structures.
The crisis and the opportunity
For the first time in America, we have an entire generation that is growing up in a post-Christian world, which means they aren’t hearing the Gospel which brings them new life and hope!
The Church of Jesus Christ has the greatest opportunity in history to reach an entire generation with the Gospel and disciple them to be world-changers. There are more teenagers in the world than any other age group!
Student ministry is the opportunity to change the entire course of history. The leaders of every major movement in history knew they had to win over the hearts and minds of the young generation to see the movement succeed. The same is true today just looked at the recent major march of teenagers and school teachers.
What if could be said of us that we intervened and changed an entire generation?
Back to baseball
In baseball, investing in a farm system requires intentional time and training with the younger players. In the system, younger players are given significant playing time and constantly work on the fundamentals like fielding, hitting, and base running. Sometimes, they are brought up to get experience in the Major Leagues. One thing is for sure, they don’t just sit on a bench and watch the major leaguers play.
In ministry, a lot of churches view students as just immature kids who need to put in another building or room and be entertained until they reach adulthood. God sees them as young adults who have the passion and capability to change the world right now.
What do they need? They need adults mentoring and investing in them, showing them the fundamentals on how to walk with Christ and live on mission. They need to be put in significant ministry situations where God can grow their faith, and given leadership responsibilities in the church.
What if they fail? Failure is good because it will help them grow years beyond their age. Jesus did that with the disciples. Investing in the young generation will bring a freshness and excitement to your faith and church body. This is why God has always used the young generation to spark revival and spiritual awakening. If we want to see spiritual awakening, churches revived and revitalized then we must intentionally invest in our students.
How do we do this?
1. If you are a parent of student or a child, God has given you the responsibility to be their primary disciple maker, not the student minister, children’s minister, or the pastor. Walk with Jesus and model Jesus in your home. Show your student what it means to follow Jesus by your intentional investment in them and the way that you live.
2. Intentionally reach out to unchurched students, adopt them spiritually, and share the Gospel with them. Allow them to live life with you, and make an investment in them.
3. If you are a pastor, student pastor, or in church leadership, train and equip your congregation to mentor the young generation. We need to add students to the Kingdom and multiply ourselves in them.
4. Pray Ezekial 37:1-14 over your student ministry and the students in your community.
Our goal in student ministry is to raise up an army of disciples to change the world with the Gospel! Jesus did it, and He has called us to do it as well.
In the church today, we have neglected the younger generation while looking for the next silver bullet to change the world while false religions are growing at a rapid rate because they spend all their time investing in their youth. What more could we do with the one and only true God who is seated on His throne and the most powerful world-changing message in the Gospel? The only thing we have left to do is be obedient.