Jesus, Pizza, And 3 Student Ministry Myths

In student ministry, Jesus and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly. The era of “youth ministry” is slowly fading, and the era of discipleship making needs to make its voice heard.

Top 3 Student Ministry Myths:

1. Buy pizza and they will come.

Pizza and more pizza. I think we’re all sick of pizza. In fact, I believe students are looking for more than just food when they come to a student event or gathering. While pizza, music and games are great accessories to any student ministry, they
cannot be the foundation in which a ministry is built on. They can never be. Disciple making must be the #1 priority. Why? Because everything else flows from the essence of discipleship.

If we’re not making disciples, we’re not fulfilling our calling as Christ-followers.

I have this gut-wrenching feeling that many students will move off to college with nothing learned from church except food, games and shiny events. None of these things are bad, but they aren’t the crux of what will keep a student fixated on the face of Jesus once walking into the real world. Discipleship is key.

2. Students have a short attention span.

Many people believe that students have a short attention span. And while this may be true to some degree, the reality is that most anybody has a short attention span if they’re honest. Students will pay attention as long as we can hold their attention. If you find this isn’t for very long, then you need to practice getting better at it. We all do. Take some public speaking classes, get wisdom from more experienced leaders, and evaluate the way you present your messages.

If you find individuals dozing off during your sermons, then maybe it’s time to up the energy, make your sermons more applicable to the age group you are speaking to, or start opening up some deeper content. Don’t let something as silly as a short attention span keep you from diving deeper into God’s word. There is too much at stake.

3. Students aren’t capable of digesting deep content.

Students are smarter than we give them credit for. And while many pastors withhold “deep content” due to the thought of it being indigestible, I think most students are hungry for more than we’re actually giving them. Introduce your students to basic theology, dogmatic theology, or event apologetics. Go through whole books of the bible, create discipleship programs, and give students the tools necessary to dig as deep as they want.

We must increase our expectations a decreasing generation of Christ followers. We must press harder than we ever have before. We must not worry about what is popular, but instead what is biblical. We must pursue that of Christ, and direct students towards the purpose of the cross.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” -Matthew 28:19

-Jarrid Wilson


What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Published by Jarrid Wilson

Husband, Father, Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship & Author of a few books.

4 comments on “Jesus, Pizza, And 3 Student Ministry Myths”

  1. I’m an adult – nearly 60 years old. I was discipled at 15, not merely entertained, and I am so glad! My heart beat for Jesus then, and it still does now. Our youth group grew like crazy because we were being fed the Word, and we were aware that we had destiny and purpose. We invited our friends because we wanted them to know Jesus, too. Yes, there were games now and then and food, but there was an awesome “conversational prayer” time every Sunday evening that showed me how to apply the Word and set me on the path of faith and life.

    On Sunday mornings, we all attended regular church services, respected the senior pastor, and took notes. We assumed that he had things to share that we needed. Later in the week, we met together as a youth group, had some fun, sang our songs, and learned how to apply the things we were learning.

    I learned that life has meaning, that God has a plan for me, and that I have a purpose to fulfill in Him. I learned that I was responsible for my own growth in the Lord. When I made some bad choices and struggled through the consequences, I knew how to turn to the Word of God and prayer for wisdom and survival.

    We should never sell kids short.

  2. I love this! I believe using the foundation of a 2005 youth ministry is not going to work. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting results that you got from along time ago is just crazy and lazy. As a future youth minister this was encouraging and very helpful. Not to push older youth ministers down, but you have to relate to your younger and ever changing crowd. From recent personal experience see these points living out and see the bad effects. My call into ministry has helped, but also my personal love for God has helped me more to focus on my relationship. I have friends my age though who do not attend church, because they don’t see the need because youth group never showed them the need. Great Post!

  3. Great Article! I agree that most children and students are not given the credit they deserve in reference to how and what they should be taught. It’s amazing how distracted and political the church can become with the bells and whistles, and forget about the real task at hand. Discipleship! Love it!

  4. Thank you Jarrid. I am 17, and I am sick of cheap pizza, ridiculous games and “simple” sermons. I’m over it. I want proper theology. I want to grow. I want to learn how to defend my faith and stay strong in this crazy world. You would be a great youth leader.

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