The goal of “Welcome to Student Ministry” is to post interviews that help guide both new and experienced student pastors toward faithful ministry over many years. This seventh interview in this series is with Chad Groff. Chad has over twenty-two years of student ministry experience and was my youth pastor when I was a student!
- Tell our readers some background information about how long you have been in student ministry, how you started, and anything else that you think would be useful.
I have been in Youth Min since High School. A few years as a volunteer and now in my 4thchurch, 22 years later. Wow that makes me sound old.
- How has your view of youth ministry changed from when you started to now?
I used to see parents as an obstacle or at best source for leaders. I have realized that the parents are the ministry. If we are able to reach parents, students will tend to walk with God and the church for a lifetime.
I also used to believe that I had to be all things to every student. Now I understand more fully that building a team of different kinds of leaders is key. My role is to mentor them and help them be successful.
- Share one of your favorite student ministry moments.
My favorite moments are baptisms and leading missions trips because that is when you see the transformation by the Holy Spirit. I also love to see parents who really get it and raise their child well to love and serve the Lord.
- What is one of the more difficult moments you have experienced in student ministry and how you responded to it?
The most difficult moment of my life was getting fired from my second church. It changed everything for our family. I responded in depression and anger for a while. The Holy Spirit used it to humble me and to make me more attentive to the details of YMin. I learned a whole new way of leading through that experience.
- What resources do you find helpful to use in student ministry?
Downloaded Youth Ministry – for games
Thesourceforym.com for games and cultural stuff
CPYU for training and culture. They have a great parent newsletter
Disciple6.com – discipleship materials that are also useful for teaching
Lifeway’s Student Pastor Network has some useful stuff
- What is one of two things that you do to make sure that you do so that you don’t burn out as a youth pastor?
Take all of your vacation days!! Have a hobby that is very different than YMin. Enjoy the progress of ministry and do not get obsessed with what you have not yet done.
- What advice would you give to yourself when you started as a youth pastor if you could go back to that time?
Be humble, more grateful and less entitled. I used to think I was a great Youth Pastor. Now I am one who relays on the power of God.
Thank you, Pastor Chad, for taking time to answer these questions. In coming weeks I will post our eighth edition of “Welcome to Student Ministry!”