The beginning of a new school year is a great time to do a quick youth ministry “check up” . A perfect question to ask is, “Why does our youth ministry exist?” If you can’t clearly define why your ministry exists, then you will likely be tossed about by the most recent trends, the coolest fads, and the loudest voices. Here’s one example:
For a little while there has been a little huff in Christian circles demanding that people choose a side – are you attractional or missional? Do you want to attract non-believers with a great program or do you want to attract non-believers with great service and ministry opportunities. While those types of conversations are healthy, they don’t need to de-rail your ministry!
Take time to BREATHE.
Because we have a clear purpose, the answer is clear as well. Our student ministry exists both to draw in non-believing students (attractional) and send them out to do God’s work (missional). In between we want them to get connected to each other and attached to the vine in discipleship to Christ. How about you?
There are lots of healthy debates surrounding purpose, philosophy and how to do youth ministry. So knowing why you exist is crucial.
Knowing why your ministry exists…
1. Helps you say no to good ideas
There are no shortage of good ideas in your church – and week after week you get inundated with really neat things your ministry could be doing. What if we added an on-campus component to our ministry? What if we did serve projects every weekend? Why don’t we do overnighters anymore – they’re awesome! Knowing why you exist helps you say no to ideas that are great … but don’t fit with what God has called you to do.
2. Helps you stay focused on a clear goal
Making cuts and course corrections to your youth ministry is never easy – but when you have a clear purpose it allows you to zero in on what is most important. If it isn’t mission critical, it is gone.
Take time to BREATHE.
3. Gives your volunteers clarity
A clear purpose also allows your volunteers to have specific direction on an ongoing basis. A clear purpose statement gives them something to refer to when they begin to question a decision or direction?
Youth ministry is tough. Why make it even tougher by not having a clear, God-given vision for where you believe it needs to go?