The Practice Game_ Part 3

Be Intentional.

Most of these things will seem like no-brainers. It’s these simple things, however, that can make the difference between a good youth ministry and an effective youth ministry.

Can a youth ministry be good and not be effective? The answer is a resounding YES! It depends on the goal of the ministry. If your goal is to create a venue where teens can congregate, have good music and hear preaching you can certainly do that, but that doesn’t necessarily equate effectiveness. If it doesn’t change the lives and/or direction the teens are going in outside of the venue, and there is no transformation, no development, no difference in the lives of the teens than the ministry in Biblical terms it is not effective. Is it good? Yes. Fellowship in a positive environment is good, but is good what we are looking for as a youth ministry?

Effective comes from intention. You will see specific results if you have a specific plan. Are you trying to create community in your group? What community enhancing events have you planned? Do you have a group of kids that need to be born again? What have you done to create a pathway for them to gain the understanding of this somewhat abstract concept and apply it to their lives? Do you have a group of church kids that are inward focused and not reaching out to their school, family or world? How have you decided to lead the outward.

Effectiveness doesn’t just happen, it’s planned for. Each quarter I sit down with a team of leaders and dispense a plan for the remainder of the year. Although, up until recently, my plans have only been short term (as in a few months out) it has proven to be somewhat helpful. I have recently been convicted of only offering short term goals- as if God is not big enough to extend to such lengths. My plans... JUST GOT BIGGER!

As a leader, especially of young hearts and minds, I must remember that my plans are not His plans (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that I MUST spend countless hours in prayer and fasting to discern His rightful direction for my life in this ministry.

What needs to happen in your group? Find it, plan it, focus on your plan and see it happen.

If All Of Your Friends Think It’s Cool…

If you’ve got a “great” idea, a revolutionary idea even, that you are going to spring on your youth group and you call up all of your youth pastor friends and they think it’s “cool” and slap you on the back and hold their thumbs up, you might need to be worried.

We are trying to reach into a different generation, like missionaries. The first thing a missionary should do when they put their feet on the ground on the mission field is find someone that can translate the culture, not just the language. You need to do the same. You have young people around you (or you should) who understand their culture and the mission of the youth ministry. They are Ambassadors and are as important, if not more so, than the youth pastor because they are who truly interfaces with the youth culture.

You are reaching into their culture, they are in the culture. So before you move forward with this amazingly cool idea, ask a few of your “in house leaders” what they think. Chances are they might think it’s cool, too. But maybe not.

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