Serving alongside a half dozen student pastors since 1987, I have come to greatly appreciate what you do and want to express that appreciation on behalf of all the other pastors, parents, and students you have blessed.
Thank you, student pastors, for the many hats you wear. I want to recognize a few of your responsibilities here:
You Are a Pastor
If you have been ordained by God and a local church, then you should see yourself as much of a pastor as that guy at the top of the org chart.
You Are a Teacher
You teach to the toughest crowd in the church on Wednesdays and Sundays. Although most of my ministry friends have served as student pastors at some point, I never had the guts to venture outside of the senior pastor role except once when I volunteered to teach a middle school boys class between worship services. I ground it out for a measly month before I wimped out. Thank you for being a consistent disciple-maker.
You Are a Cop
The last student pastor I served with kicked off his new ministry with a huge winter retreat, where one of his students got his head shaved…involuntary…by an adult sponsor! He is still serving strong at that church seven years later, primarily because he focuses on relationships over rules. Thank you for the times you have had to be both loving and tough.
You Are a Principal
You not only speak to the toughest audience, you also pastor the toughest members—the parents. Don’t be discouraged by the unrealistic expectations of the uninvolved parents. It is not your job to raise their kids, but I am grateful that God sent you to be a vital partner with them.
You Are a Counselor
I suspect most members do not know that you are helping walk kids through adult problems like suicide, self-mutilation, pornography, pregnancy, court appearances, substance abuse and addictions, etc. Even your “normal” students are hormonally imbalanced and prone to temporary insanity. Thank you!
You Are an Evangelist
I was saved at fifteen years of age because my student pastor made sure we had constant exposure to the gospel. He also made sure we had opportunities to bring our friends to evangelistic events. Even more than that, he taught us how to share our faith with our friends when we were too young to be afraid and our friends were too young to be offended.
You Are a Servant
Thank you for being the Minister of Miscellaneous: van driver, cook, custodian, organizer, promoter, MC, cook, and security – sometimes all at the same time. Your pay and hours usually stink, but your attitude and impact have not gone unnoticed. Thank you student pastors!
I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, so that they may be saved (1 Cor. 10:33).
What other hats do student pastors wear? Next week I will write a tribute post to children’s pastors.