Game Time Offense

Today starts the first week of an 8-part series on developing a game plan for your Student Ministry. Do you love football? I get excited every year during football season and watching football under the lights. With football season just starting, I have been thinking over the last few weeks about how a Student Ministry’s game plan is in some ways very similar to a Football Team’s weekly/season game plan.

Over the years of doing Student Ministry and serving as a Pastor on staff at several churches, one of the greatest things I have found to help our ministry move to the next level was having a game plan. Today we will talk about offense. Over the next eight weeks, we will talk about defense, special teams, head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offense game plan, and then defense game plan.

Your Offense

Scott, what is offense when it comes to Student Ministry? I am glad you asked that question. I think that every part of a Student Ministry is essential, but our offense builds the framework for shaping our students. I will talk in a later post about developing an offensive game plan, but today I want to explain and label three areas that need to be in all offenses.


When we look at explaining our offense, the first thing that I believe we find in potent offenses in the local church is small groups. We need to make sure that within our ministry, we layout a game plan that provides a way for our small groups to win every week.

How can they be built to win? The best way to build your small group ministry is having dependable people who understand the “WHY” (Why you Exist? What your goal is for the Student Ministry?), and allow them to build then their small group setting to go after the “WHY” every week.

One of the best ways to build a robust small group is to sit down with your students and hear what they want to see from their small-group experience. For example, I sat down with our students here in Orlando, and I learned a lot of things that they want to accomplish or discuss within their small-group experience. I took their notes and explained our “WHY” while building in all aspects of their input.

Small Groups are pivotal to spiritual and physical growth. Big things come from the small gathering of students in God’s Word and praying.

Sermons and Messages

 When it comes to building, developing, or recognizing your offense, Sermons, and Messages must be built into your offense scheme. How do you plan or develop your messages for your students? What is the result you want to see from your sermons or large group messages?

 I know that each one of us who works in the Student Ministry as a result for our students to achieve. The problem that occurs for most offenses in local churches is found in the area of sermons and messages. Why? Because most churches that I come across develop small groups in their church or homes for students, but they keep the messages in a large group short and quick at engaging students to what is to come in small groups.

Your sermon and message are vital for your students because they need to have a large group experience where they can take notes and build serious roots in their Christian walk. I have heard from people who have said they think the large Student Ministry Worship Services are ending/dying. I have surveyed students and churches to find out that teenagers want a Student Worship Service for messages that are driven towards their age. I then discovered that teenagers and students who sit in our churches weekly are needing Student Worship Services because when they go to college, they have built roots in sitting in a large group and feel more comfortable in a broader context of worship.

School Impacts

Lastly, when your ministry and you build an offense, you must include being on school campus’ (School Impacts). Over the last 16 years, I have found that students love having their Student Pastor and church volunteers show up at their schools. It helps the students know that we are willing and wanting to come to their world and learn more about them.

 I am in 4-5 schools a week, and I want the students and faculty to know that they are loved and valued. I am not going in to build attendance for my ministry, but going in to love on the community where I serve. When we go to where our students are, we will begin to have an offense that is built to win and last through every season.

 Over the next week, begin to plan and examine your ministry to see how you can have a stronger offense. I evaluate my ministry once a month to see what areas are weak and how can I make it stronger for our ministry.

Scott Talley