Disclaimer: this post is specifically targeting college students who believe their life calling is to serve the local church.
Jesus is why I do what I do. He saved me, then called me into this thing called ‘ministry.’ I’ve been out of college for more than 6 years now. In my training to be an effective minister I was taught how to study the Bible, preach the Bible, parse the greek language, etc. I also learned theology, history, and all about the apostle Paul. Early on in ministry I realized I would struggle in areas of ministry that no class directly addressed. From day one, I was the computer guy at our church because I was under 40 years of age. I was also the new sound guy, the website designer, video editor, camera man, the chief graphic designer for our brochures, tracts, bulletins, etc. Within one year I found myself leading worship on stage with a guitar I’d only been playing for 9 months. I had no experience with any of those things before ministry. I could tell you Paul’s life story, tell you about seraphim and cherubim, but I had little practical training for ministry. I knew how to preach and teach, but I wasn’t the head pastor, so I needed more skills to serve our church plant. Let me make clear that I do appreciate the knowledge and doctrine I learned in college. I understand that theology and right doctrine trump practicality all day. I’m not saying we should toss theology classes. However in most private and public universities more practical, hands on training is becoming the norm. I believe the same should be true in training for ministry. I did two summer internships in California that changed my life. However, even an internship has its limitations. I understand that colleges are limited in how much they can prepare an individual for life and ministry. That being said, here are a five things I’d recommend every student consider before graduating.
- If at all possible, play a musical instrument that can lead worship (not a Bass Clarinet).
- Learn how to run and properly mix sound. It’s an invaluable skill today.
- Get a copy of Photoshop, Illustrator, or some kind of design software. Learn how to use it for ministry (printing, web design, etc.)
- Leverage technology. Today email, social media, and the internet offer the church new avenues to reach people. You will have to take the lead in all these areas.
- Be flexible. Understand that out of the gate, you may not be doing what you thought. You may have to learn some skills you thought weren’t part of ministry. I’m only 6 years out and I’ve learned so much about ministry, but a lot of ministry is behind the scenes. Be willing to take care of whatever needs to be done.
Let me finish by encouraging you to stick with it. Ministry is awesome and rewarding, but it can have it’s moments too. I’ve had a pretty easy lot in ministry over all. The same may or may not be true for you. This post is meant to encourage you to add to your arsenal of tools and abilities with which to serve Jesus.