Monday, October 10, 2011
What's the point?
Establish your purpose
Why were you put here on the earth? God created us for the purpose of being in relationship with Him. He loves us unconditionally and desires us to grow. He has uniquely endowed us with talents and abilities to love and serve others. In the same way, your ministry has a unique purpose. As you align yourself with God's intended purpose it will kindle your passion and influence. What do you do well? What makes your heart break? These are some keys to your purpose. I am reminded of the Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland demanding, "Who are you?!"
See if you can write your purpose for ministry down in one sentence. For instance, my wife and I often share that we are "Building relationships that change eternity." or it can be as simple as "Loving the person right in front of me." One of my coworkers, Aaron Babyar, shared, "To glorify God by helping ministry leaders survive and thrive as they glorify God in making disciples for his kingdom." Or another is "Equipping leaders and teenagers in their relationship with Jesus to be disciples makers."
Move from entertaining to equipping
Many times in youth ministry we set our sights on the wrong goals. We look to do the bigger and better to attract more students. We look online for a better game or illustration.We play the numbers game and desperately want more students to "come to a gathering" or "make a decision." Numbers or decisions are just markers for what is truly important; maturity in student's lives.
To illustrate, a couple years back my wife and I went to a renaissance faire with our friends. Our friends' daughter wanted to to archery. She was too young to shoot on her own so I helped her to shoot the bow. She was so excited when she hit anything because she was the one holding the bow. In the same way the goal for youth ministry becomes equipping teenagers to mature in their relationship with God. We want them to hold the bow and hit the target. In this way students become participants in ministry not just consumers.
Answer the "Why"
As I shared before, I define, "Boring," as "There is no purpose in this for me." We need to define the reason why we want students to participate in ministry. Even better, we answer the question, "Why will a teenager want to participate in our ministry?" This puts the focus on the needs and desires of the youth. In order to do this we need to get inside teenagers' lives and assess who they are and what is important to them. Then change your programming to emphasize ways to equip these students in their areas of passion to live and share the good news.
As we establish our purpose, equip teenagers and answer the "Why," teenagers will respond by engaging with their hearts and minds to own the ministry. It will no longer be your ministry to teenagers. I will become a youth ministry team working together in the disciple making process.