For more than 20 years I have lead the SCA (Students Christian Association) ministry at my school where I am a Grade 3 teacher. Deuteronomy 11:19 says:
“Teach them (God’s commands) to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Write them on the doorposts of your house and gates”(emphasis added).
This the heart of SCA ministry for me as it reaches out to young lives.
However, as with all youth ministry, SCA can be exhausting, frustrating and tough to lead!
So what makes it worthwhile?
I believe an effective SCA ministry is…
1) …for Jesus!
This may seem obvious, but sometimes SCA prep can seem too much like just more work to add to the pile! So remember WHO you are doing it for and prioritise it. We are ultimately responsible to Jesus in the way we fulfil this calling.
Ephesians 6:7 says “do your work as slaves cheerfully, as though you serve the Lord and not merely human beings.”
2) …tough if you don’t feed yourself first.
We can’t feed young lives if we are weak from spiritual hunger ourselves. Don’t be hard on yourself though! Our faith does not have to be perfect and God can turn our weaknesses into opportunities. However, we must make time for Holy Spirit to do this work.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere” (Acts 1:8a).
3) …more powerful than you realise.
Don’t let the seeming smallness of what you do be a discouragement. At one point when I was wondering over its effectiveness, I had a parent stop me to tell me that the little scripture craft that her daughter had made in our last session had been a powerful encouragement to a relative who was going through a really hard time. Just sow the seeds and ask God to grow them into roots of faith.
1 Corinthians 15:58 says “keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.”
4) …about relationships.
As a teacher you can be tempted to make SCA another lesson for the day. While good teaching is important, it is more important to build the relationships first through fellowship and fun, respecting prayer requests and breaking into smaller groups for discussions.
5) …better planned ahead of time.
Planning ahead stops the ministry from becoming chaotic, otherwise the load of teaching and school life takes over. Having a basic Year plan with major events, camps and rallies on the calendar helps keep everyone on their toes. Planning ahead also allows enough time to invite guest speakers and plan special events.
6) …a team effort.
You can’t manage this ministry without a team to help you. Having a group of teachers involved is great as you can spread the load. Build friendships with this team. We try to have a SCA team tea in the holidays to plan the term ahead. Fun and fellowship together and open communication on a team WhatsApp group helps keep us connected and focussed.
7) …about networking.
Connect with outside churches and youth organisations and invite them to speak or lead. Scripture Union is great at helping out; as are local churches with a vibrant youth ministry. It brings diversity and freshness into your ministry. Connecting with SCA groups from other schools by organising unity events is also a great way to network with other SCA leadership and share ideas. 1 Peter 2:17 commands us to “respect everyone and love the family of believers.”
8) …relevant and resourceful.
If we are leading millennials we need to make sure we are connecting with them in a relevant way. Go online and check out what is available in the way of technology and topics. Scripture Union, You-Version bible app and sermons4Kids.com are all great places to start. Alpha film series have some great resources available too. Get connected and stay relevant!
9) …better with an annual camp.
We have found that an annual weekend away together builds relationships and injects focus, fun and fellowship. It is always EXHAUSTING but incredibly powerful. If possible find a campsite with a team willing to run the program. Or else book a campsite and ask a local church to run the program for you. You will need all your energy just to be the camp parent! The Christian Camping official website has lists of campsites all over South Africa.
10) …one young life at at time!
Young people are fickle, school life is extremely busy and priorities are often skewed. If you lead a school SCA prepare to have numbers fluctuate and change. Music practices, sport and academics all seem to consume time and commitment (even if you work in a Christian school). Persevere for Jesus and remember that effective SCA ministry is about one life at a time!
Recently we looked at the parable of the Lost Sheep at SCA (Luke 15:1-7). It reminded me that God’s heart is for each individual. The shepherd is prepared to leave the 99 for the sake of saving one life. As SCA leaders let us keep that in mind. Our ministry does not need to be about big numbers or super-sized programs. It is sometimes about that one sheep who needs bringing back into the fold and it is always about the love of the Shepherd.
I hope these 10 things inspire you to persevere in this challenging ministry. Don’t give up! There just may be a young life or even a whole family that is going to depend on this ministry for hope and faith.