“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Before Jesus ascended into the deep blue Judean sky he gave his final instructions to his young followers. He told them to carry out his bold vision by taking his even bolder message to the ends of the earth.
He even gave them a built-in strategy to do just that: Start in Jerusalem (where they were at) and spread outward until everyone everywhere has an opportunity to hear, understand and respond to the Gospel.
The baton of fulfilling that bold vision has been passed down from one generation of believers to the next to the next. Now it is firmly in our hands … or should be anyway.
How bold is your youth ministry vision? Do you have one?
Yes, yes, I know your vision includes your teenagers being discipled. But if you engage them on the mission given to us by Jesus, they can’t help but turn into fully devoted followers of Jesus. Why? Because, unlike Bible studies and discipleship meetings, evangelism forces teenagers to put skin in the game. It allows them to risk their social equity, their street cred so to speak, for the sake of the Gospel.
So, with this as a backdrop, how do you craft a bold vision for your youth ministry?
1. Spend time praying for wisdom before you craft it.
James 1: 5 gives us one of those promises we can claim without hesitation in the planning process: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Before you run to the whiteboard to write out your rough draft, go to the prayer closet and pray. Every powerful second spent on the front end of the planning process in prayer will yield unimaginable dividends to a bold vision that is tight and right for your youth ministry context.
2. Include all three target areas.
The disciples’ bold vision started where they were at (Jerusalem) and spread slowly outward (ends of the earth). In between, there was the tough part of town (Samaria). And Jesus wanted his disicples to saturate all three target areas with the Gospel.
I’ll label it “across the street” (Jerusalem), “across the tracks” (Samaria) and “across the world” (ends of the earth). Each youth ministry needs a bold vision that has a local impact, a social impact and a global impact. Of course, you probably already have some sort of vision for across the street, but what about across the tracks?