It’s a fact: Every thriving youth ministry needs a solid, meaningful mission statement. Join me for a quick look at how to draft — and live out — youth ministry mission statements that have maximum impact.
The “Why” of Youth Ministry Mission Statements
Before you dive into the practical aspects of a mission statement, it’s important that you and your leaders are convinced you need one. If you can’t see the benefits of a mission statement or your team doesn’t see the need for one, chances are it will end up in a drawer somewhere (or whatever a digital version of that is … an unused folder?). That means you must convince yourself and others of the necessity of youth ministry mission statements. When your team is on board, it’s time to get to work.
The “How” of Youth Ministry Mission Statements
Youth ministry mission statements can’t be created in an afternoon. You should take the time to have serious discussions with your leaders, your volunteers and maybe even people outside your youth ministry, such as the board, parents, etc. During the process, work to discover the answer to this key question: Why does our youth ministry exist?
All eventual youth ministry mission statements must answer that question. Why do you exist? What’s your purpose? What do you want to accomplish, get done and change?
Most mission statements also express the core values of an organization (or, in your case, the ministry). Think about values such as respect, equality, compassion and integrity, but also consider concepts such as family-based. A second question to ask while brainstorming youth ministry mission statements, therefore, is this: What’s important to us?
If you take the time to discuss and answer these two questions, you’ll probably start out quite broad and vague and need to get more specific. That’s okay; just take the time to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions. And don’t be alarmed or even shocked if leaders have completely different opinions about what your mission should be!
Next Steps: Narrow It Down & Review
Once you’ve listened to everyone’s opinions, try to narrow down the focus. What are the common denominators? What do people agree on? Keep these things in mind as you do this:
- A mission statement should be short, preferably one or two sentences. People need to be able to remember it!
- A mission statement isn’t a list of what you do; it’s why you do it.
- Don’t limit yourself too much in a mission statement. Create some space to evolve as an organization.
- Keep it realistic! A mission statement that says you want to reach the whole world for Christ is admirable but hardly practical.
- Use dynamic words that inspire, making people want to start implementing the mission statement right away. Use active not passive verbs.
Once you’ve created a youth ministry mission statement, it’s important for everyone involved to review it. That gives people a chance to spot any mistakes that might have slipped through and also helps make the statement their own.
Once youth ministry mission statements are in place, the biggest challenge is to communicate them. Everyone involved in your youth ministry should not only know the statement but actively support it and carry it out. Here are some ideas for accomplishing that:
- Display the youth ministry mission statement in the Welcome Center and youth area.
- At the start of each ministry season, discuss the mission statement with all leaders and volunteers.
- Communicate the mission statement to students themselves on a regular basis.
- Give the statement to parents so they know what to expect.
- Whenever a big decision must be made, use the mission statement as a guiding principle so people will see it in use.
- Refer to the mission statement whenever necessary or appropriate.
- Review it every two years or so to ensure it stays up to date and is fresh in people’s minds.
Examples of Youth Ministry Mission Statements
For inspiration, let’s look at some sample mission statements from ministries:
We exist to equip young people to develop a deeper relationship with Christ, encourage uplifting relationships with other Christians, and empower life-changing relationships with non-believers. (Source: Bill Nance)
In partnership with families, the youth ministry of FBC exists to engage 100% of the students under its care, to train them to live independently in Christ, and to send them out as exceptional, godly men and women of integrity who will transform their homes, their schools, their churches, their workplaces, and their worlds for Christ. (Source: First Baptist Church of Muncie)
The youth ministry of Fourth Presbyterian Church is an engaging and welcoming community for its youth and their friends that
- Surrounds youth with an unconditional love that fosters genuine relationships,
- Anchors them in the joys and traditions of the Christian faith,
- Energizes and equips them to extend the love of Christ to the world.
Our Children’s Ministry exists to bring children into age-appropriate WORSHIP where they can BELONG to the family of God, GROW in their relationship with Christ, learn to SERVE and then go SHARE Christ in the world! (mission statement of the children’s ministry of Saddleback Church)
If you’re familiar with the Purpose Driven philosophy of Saddleback and other churches, you may be tempted to just copy their mission statement. Don’t! Even if you share a vision, always put your statements into your own words. Own it.
Please share your youth ministry mission statements in the comments!