If you ask my leaders, "What is one thing that Ryan talks about ad nauseum?" I guarantee that they will tell you two things: Contact Work and Parent Partnerships.
Student Ministry is not rocket science. Some people try to make it so, but any schlep called by God can do this work - just ask my wife. :) I would rather compare Student Ministry to baking a cake from scratch. The cake itself only requires a few ingredients, but the slightest distortion of any ingredient - an extra ounce here, too litter there - will always result in a catastrophic pile of culinary disaster! Trust me, I know this, too - ask my wife. :)
Student Ministry requires only a few key components, and truly, depending on the scale and mixture of those components, either beautiful dessert is made or get ready for hours of messy clean up.