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Where Are You Wanting To Go?

“In order to travel from one destination to another, you first must know the direction you are to travel.” This sounds like a profound quote, but it should be considered a very foundational understanding… especially when you are leading others.

If you are leading a ministry with no clear direction or focus on where you want the students to go, then you will inevitably collide into a wall. Establishing a vision or a focus in your ministry is one of the most important early adoption plans to consider. Your vision and focus is the direction that your group is going and all of the things that your ministry does should fall in line with this. For example, our mission statement at my church is “Love God, Love People, Offer Christ.” We have taken that mission statement and adapted it to our student ministry as well with slight modification of saying “Love God. Love Students. Offer Christ.” This is the lense that we aim to look through for any/all activities or events that happen within our group. Does it fall into one or more of these three claims? If not, we need to reassess. Everything that we do is aimed at loving students while pointing them to Jesus. When these things happen, it moves us to our other focus that we share with our leaders and volunteers called “Our Big Win.” I wish I could take credit for the brilliance behind this statement, but this is 100% adapted from Kenny and Elle Campbell and their work with Stuff You Can Use, which is a fantastic youth ministry resource for anyone in the field of youth ministry. 

Our big win is when students take the next step in their relationship with Jesus. Whether that’s accepting Christ for the first time, baptism, understanding and unpacking a new concept for the first time or leading other students to Jesus. We win when students are advancing in their efforts to be Christ-like and Christ-minded individuals.

What Steps Are Needed To Get You There?

Sometimes your mission statement and focus can be super well thought out and planned, but not communicated well. Make sure that you are actively working to communicate your focus and mission to your staff, your leaders, your parents AND your students. Lack of communication leads to disorientation of not only yourself, but everyone else in the group. Here are some things that we do to make sure that we have the focus fresh on peoples minds. 

    1. It’s all over our ministry. When we do merchandise, we do our best to get our mission out there. When we do events, we try to make sure the WHY on what we are doing is there. 

    2. It’s engrained in our leaders. It’s in our leader trainings, onboardings and in the booklet that they all receive and have to sign and say that they read and understand our requirements.

    3. It’s in our communication with parents. We send out weekly emails to parents saying what we are doing and we always include our mission throughout the entirety of the emails and other communication that we do with our parents. 

    While this might not be an exhaustive list, this all works to the betterment of our communication towards those in (and around) our ministry. We exceed and push boundaries far greater when we are all on the same page. We win when we work as a team.

Brent Aiken

Brent Aiken

Author

Brent Aiken is the Student Pastor at Wylie Methodist Church in Abilene, Texas. He has been in student ministry for the past 11 years and loves to equip the next generation of leaders to be bold in their faith and relationship with Jesus.

 

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