Why Coats Baptist Needs a Student Pastor

Uncategorized // October 31, 2020 //

For nearly a decade, Anthony and Amy Beasley have served as leaders of our student ministry. As part-time lay leaders, they have done a fantastic job reaching students, making disciples, and equipping them for a life of missional service. We say a big “thank you!” to the Beasley family for their continued commitment to our young people.

With their support and encouragement, we seek to move forward in our ministry to students by searching for a student pastor. As the Beasleys have shared, the ministry deserves a full-time position. With the calling of a new pastor, we hope to build on the foundation laid down by Anthony and Amy. They will continue to play a critical role in our ministry to students and the success of the student pastor.

To help us all catch the vision for a full-time student pastor, let’s answer a simple question: “Why does Coats Baptist need a student pastor?” The short answer is simple: to commit full-time pastoral ministry to the mission of making disciples of students. That’s why we need a student pastor: to lead the disciple-making effort of our students.

Therefore, as is the mission of Coats Baptist is “to make disciples,” the student pastor will adapt the church’s mission to the context of student ministry. He will be the lead disciple-maker within the ministry, leading by example to make and multiply students as disciples of Jesus Christ.

What is a disciple, again? We may think of a fully-devoted follower of Christ in these terms (notice the progressive nature of the points).

  • A worshiper of God
  • A student of the Bible
  • An example of holiness
  • A servant of the church
  • A maker of disciples

How then does the mission of disciple-making apply to the student ministry and the role of the student pastor? In sequential order to the points above, let’s sketch out with broad brush strokes how the student pastor would strategically lead the disciple-making effort of students.

1. Reach the schools. We must reach our public schools with the gospel. The student pastor role is not only relational, but highly evangelistic. We seek to see students converted to Christ and thus become worshipers of God. Such a mission is best led by a pastor in a full-time position.

From our church location two massive high schools sit just miles away: Triton High School at five miles and Harnett Central High School is eight miles. Combined they have over 2,500 students. What is more, Campbell University is only three miles away. It is but a five minute drive from our church. Under normal operations, CU has nearly 4,000 students on campus. What does this mean? From our church location, there’s a total of nearly 7,000 students within arms’ reach. As Jesus said, “The fields are white for harvest.” (John 4:35)

2. Teach the Bible. We all need the Bible. Leaders are teachers, and pastors teach the Bible. Students need the exposition of Scripture. This is a foundation set by the Beasley family. Therefore, our student pastor will be an ordained pastor with the “ability to teach” (1 Tim. 3:2) the Bible in a variety of contexts. He will teach students and oversee the teaching ministry among student groups, services, and events. At times, you may find him behind the pulpit on Sunday.

3. Shepherd the students. The student pastor will join the pastoral team with various congregational pastoral duties. He will be an asset to our staff and to the total church program. Yet, the focus of his ministry will be to the students: middle and high school, as well as those entering college. Students need a spiritual shepherd now more than ever. They need to be discipled through out their years as a student to best prepare them for a life on mission. Across our country, students leave the church after graduation. Let it not be so on our watch at Coats Baptist. (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).

4. Serve the families. We must serve students along with parents and siblings. The student pastor will have a ministry age range from approximately 12 to 20 years old. That means he will play a critical role in transitioning children into the student ministry and seeing them through college. As a pastor, this man will meet parents, visit homes, and get to know families. At the same time, he will help assimilate students into the congregation and foster a multi-generational ministry (cf., 1 Corinthians 12:12).

5. Develop the leadership. We are called to make disciples and develop leaders. Pastors lead that effort. No pastor is a one-man show. It takes a team. The same will be true for the student pastor. He will be a leader of leaders in home groups, on mission trips, and among the weekly ministries (cf., Ephesians 4:12). The student pastor will not simply be a means of taking care of our students but rather serve as an integral part of our Coats Baptist pastoral team.

These are only a few of the top disciple-making tasks of a student pastor. Space fails me to expound on the ancillary ministry responsibilities of planning events, mission trips, and practical ministries; equipping God-called students for full-time ministry service; preparing graduates for life on mission. These are exciting days at Coats Baptist! God has been so gracious.

On the evening of November 8 we will hold our first business meeting since re-opening. Among the many items of Kingdom business will be the congregational approval of a student pastor job description and salary package. It’s a small step forward in a much greater process. Simply put, we’re seeking congregational approval for two points of progress:

  1. Begin the search for a student pastor. We will likely fill a search committee soon and begin the search process at the beginning of the new year.
  2. Add the student pastor salary package to the church budget. Since pastor searches typically take several months, we would not anticipate calling a student pastor until the second half of the year. If approved, the 2021 church budget will reflect the financial package starting July 1, 2021 as a tentative fiscal date.

Prior to the Sunday night service on November 8, there will be a Business Meeting Q&A at 5pm in the Fellowship Hall. If you have any questions about the student pastor position or any other matter of church business, please join us.

Copies of the student pastor job description and salary package will be available online for your convenience prior to the business meeting at coatsbaptist.com/reports.

God bless you, church!

About Neal Thornton