In February 2016, after about a year of praying, discussing, and planning, The Student Ministry Podcast began. Over that time, we’ve had 85 episodes with over 70 guests. I’ve gotten to connect with so many youth workers who are in the trenches and some of my ministry mentors. I’ve been able to connect with a group of other ministry-focused podcasters, collaborating on several occasions, especially around conferences and conventions. I’ve gotten the opportunity to interview some bigger names in the student ministry world, like Greg Stier, Josh Griffin, The Skit Guys, and I even got to speak with Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter. And then we started having sponsors want to join in and use this podcast to get the word out about their resources.

Over that time, I’ve been incredibly blessed. This podcast started out as a huge experiment as I knew I wanted to have these conversations with others in student ministry, and I thought maybe others would want to listen in to those conversations too. Low and behold, you did want to listen, and you keep showing up, and you keep sharing it with others in student ministry. I am so incredibly grateful!! 

Back in 2016, there weren’t very many ministry-focused podcasts, especially student ministry-focused. When I realized the name and URL were available, I jumped on it. And it was very fitting to call it The Student Ministry Podcast. I mean, that’s what it was. But now with many other great student ministry-focused podcasts on the scene, I’m left wondering what sets this podcast apart from the others. Why would you listen to this podcast in your limited time? Why would you want to share it with others in student ministry? And I don’t want to come across as pretentious or anything by acting like this is THE only podcast focused on this topic. But on top of all that, I have a desire for this to be more than a podcast. 

Moving forward, the podcast and the bigger vision will be known as Student Ministry Connection. 

Why? 

When I think of the word connection, I think of what happens when two or more items or people make contact. And I immediately think of what Scripture says in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” 

Connection also immediately puts this image of a train station in my head. While train stations aren’t necessarily a modern thing we use a lot, I still really enjoy them. And what happens at a train station? Tracks connect with each other as they go here and there. But also people connect with each other. Sometimes you are just passing through, and other times, you can sit or walk around a bit. That’s what I want Student Ministry Connection to be.

The original vision was a place for me to connect with others in student ministry, hear their stories, and discuss what they are learning – and then share that with others. This is still the same vision, but I’d like to dig into that a bit more moving forward. 

Student Ministry Connection will be a place for you to network with others. Many of us feel like we are on our own, but we need to be reminded that our tribe is so much bigger. Way too many youth workers are quitting, and for many of them, they would stick with it longer if they didn’t feel so alone. I’m not saying this podcast will solve all of those problems, but I want it to be a part of the solution. I want you to know me and know the guests I bring on. I want you to feel like you were sitting in the room with me as a guest or I talk about ministry. I want you to know the youth workers we begin to highlight in other ways. I want you all to know we see you and eventually, I want us to work on you being known as well. Why? Because we need each other!

Student Ministry Connection will be a place to learn from each other. I love hearing what God has taught others, and I think you do too. You don’t come for just the conversation, but I think you come to grow. In the beginning, I did one episode a month, because that’s a schedule I could keep. I would like to increase that to at least 2 episodes a month. If you’ve been paying attention, I’ve actually put out more episodes in the last 6 months in order to test the waters a bit. On top of learning from others in ministry, I wanted to begin sharing some of the things I’ve learned about leading in student ministry since 2001. While the interview episodes will continue to be 30-60 minutes, the solo episodes will probably be 20 minutes or less.

If God continues to bless this, it will continue to grow and evolve. We have other ideas we are praying about. In fact, if you have ideas, please let me know — either on our social media channels, email, or just connect with me directly on social media. I’m @stevecullum on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But no matter what, unless God tells me otherwise, I’ll still be here, because while I have many interests, I am incredibly passionate about two things that I would say are two of the most important things: ministering to students and families, and connecting with others who also love doing that!

So, if you serve in student ministry, want to connect with others, and have a desire to grow, Student Ministry Connection is for you! And if you know others who serve in student ministry, want to connect with others, and have a desire to grow, please be sure to let them know. 

Where is God going to take this? I don’t know. I really never imagined where I would be today when I started this over 6 years ago. But I do know that it has been a blessing to me and to others, and so I can’t help but want to keep moving it forward.

For those of you who have been a part of this since the beginning, thank you so much! For those of you who joined along the way, thank you so much! This little experiment is about to step into some new areas and I am so glad you are here with me on this ride! 

As far as logistics go, if you are already subscribed on your favorite podcast app or service, the only thing that will change soon will be the artwork and name of the podcast. But if you have any issues, please do not hesitate to reach out and let me know. Rebranding of a podcast can be a pain, especially after over 6 years under one name, so please bear with us as we change everything over. 

Be sure to stay connected with me on social media and also the new website – studentministryconnection.com where you will find the links to subscribe, follow us on social media, sign up for the newsletter, and more over time. All of those links are also in the podcast show notes. 

Thanks for listening. Be sure to get connected, and may God bless your ministry! 

Find out more, including links to subscribe at http://studentministryconnection.com.

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