Bible College Did Not Teach Me…
1) How to Be a Leader
In my role as the student ministry pastor, I can’t do anything if I’m not a leader. Without adult volunteers willing to follow me, my ministry would collapse. Without students being influenced by spiritual guidance, my ministry is pointless. Bible College didn’t teach me anything on how to be a leader (at least not directly).
I wonder how much more effective some ministries would be if their pastor had a stronger grasp on leadership.
2) How to Deal With Conflict & Criticism
When it comes to receiving criticism, there is a world of difference between being an intern and being a pastor. The level of expectation rightly jumps way up when you carry the title pastor. When you’re the leader, you’re going to receive criticism. In this case, the cliches are true: you can’t please everyone; if you try to please everyone you’ll end up pleasing no one.
The Bible College did not prepare me for these sorts of situations (I have not encountered all of these situations, but I’ve heard stories):
- What do you do when half your students parents think you’re too entertaining and not deep enough, but the other half thinks you’re talking over the kids heads and not engaging enough?
- How do you respond when people leave the church and pin point you as the reason?
- How do you respond when you keep hearing second and third hand criticisms of your ministry, but few people come to you with their concerns?
- What do you do when your ministry is very successful at connecting with the unchurch, but some of the parents of your students are worried about the influence the unchurched will have on their kids?
- How do you respond when one or more of the elders appear to be sabotaging your ministry, they ignore it when confronted, and the rest of the church leaders won’t back you?
- What do you do when the church leaders are happy with what you’re doing, but others in the church are unhappy with your performance?
3) How to Plan and Promote an Event
Before I graduated from college, I had a sit down with my advisor. In that meeting I said I was drawn towards church ministry because I like to preach, but I was weary of becoming an event coordinator.
Well, my concern was well founded. In the last year I’ve been in the top leadership circle for two middle school retreats with 100 students, a Christmas party for 500 teenagers, an egg hunt with 1,700 people, a week long training retreat for 200 teenagers, and a week long backyard Bible club program involving 20 teenagers, 300 kids, 20 clubs, and 1 day long festival with 500 people. Those are the big ones. That doesn’t include all of the sub-100 person events I’ve planned and promoted. It doesn’t include the two weekly worship services I’m over.
Huge chunks of my time are spent planning, promoting, and executing BIG events, and I have no formal training in how to do any of it.
4) How to Work With Interns and/or Staff
Thus far I’ve only had one summer intern. So I don’t have much to say on this point. However, that somewhat illustrates the point. I have no idea what to write about having an employee/intern because it’s not something I’ve studied or have much experience with. Bible College didn’t do much to tell me how to keep an employee working.