Our church recently experienced a transition in our Youth Ministry. I gathered an amazing volunteer youth leader team around a table and after prayer and gnashing of teeth (kind of freaking out and unsure of the future) we determined the first step we needed to take was to, “DEFINE REALITY.” How is the youth ministry at our church going, really? (Please refer to part 1 of this blog series.) This was so helpful to define the current state of our youth ministry.
The Second Step has been to CLARIFY THE VISION. I am the founding pastor of our church. In the last 10 years we have had 3 different youth pastors. One thing I have discovered is each youth pastor brings their own vision. This has been good for a season but when they have left it was THEIR vision and not necessarily OUR vision.
We determined that we needed to create a shared vision together before we call our next youth pastor. Then whoever we call, that person has to fit our vision for youth ministry rather than change everything to fit their vision. One thing is for sure, staff come and go. If we continue to bring in new staff and new vision every three and a half years it will only create insecurity and uncertainty for our church and community.
So….with all that said, I wanted to define with our team, “What is vision?” and then create together “What our shared vision is going to be!”
First what is vision?
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I’ve also heard, “Where there is NO vision the people will look for another parish!” Ha!
A vision without action is a daydream, but action without vision is a nightmare.
Bill Hybels defines vision as “a picture of the future that produces passion in the present in the heart of people.”
Andy Stanley defines vision as, “a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.” So what will a clear picture of the future look like in our youth ministry?
Barry St. Clair defines vision as, “Seeing that which is unseen, as already seen, so that it can be seen.”
Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I shared with our team that the vision of Life Community Church is to “Lead people into a life changing and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” If we replace “people” with “students” our mission for youth ministry is to “Lead students and families into a life changing and growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” We are all about Life Change! Now with all that said, How are we going to fulfill this vision?
Mark Sentor in his book, “The Coming Revolution of Youth Ministry,” described a powerful progression in youth ministry that I believe will help fulfill our vision. He said, “There is a big difference between, Youth Work, Youth ministry and a Youth Movement.”
Youth Work is where adults primary desire is to love and nurture kids. This could be the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts. I am convinced there is more youth work going on in our churches than we know. We play games, sing songs, take students on trips, but discipleship and evangelism are not at the heart of the equation.
Youth Ministry is where adults primary desire is to share the gospel and reach students for Christ and then set up a plan to disciple students to become mature in Christ.
Youth Movement is where adults play a secondary role and students have been equipped to share the gospel and reach their friends for Christ and then set up a plan to disciple students to become mature in Christ.
We agreed that our shared vision is to pray for great youth work to be done among our students, equip adults who are fired up to reach and disciple students for Christ and then train up our students to get in the game and reach and disciple their friends for Christ.
We are passionate about making disciples who make disciples. So…the next question is “How are we going to do this?” That will be the focus of Blog #3
Until then, let’s all join together and pray for our youth and families. Pray for a mighty move of the life giving, grace filled love of God to come and rescue and set free this generation of youth to be kingdom minded and giant killers for Jesus Christ.
Download Youth Ministries: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/dym+resource
Barry St. Clair – Reach Out Youth Solutions: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/barry%40reach-out.org/153c848f407ff336
Jonathan Mckee – The Source For Youth Ministry: http://www.thesource4parents.com/
Ben Kerns – Average Youth Ministry:averageym.tumblr.com