Visioning

Derek Zoolander said it best, “ who am I?  I don’t know I guess I have a lot to ponder.”  Many ministries really never stop to ask the hard question, “who are we?”   Most times we plug in programs and activities into our Ipad’s or Iphones and soon wonder why we are not fulfilling our mission.  I am a young youth worker, but I seem to think that we look far too much at what we are doing and not enough and why or how we are doing it.  I think this is a church problem that impacts youth ministries.  Years ago huge outreach events ruled the world, bring in a band, speaker and guaranteed hundreds of kids would show up.  Soon more concerts, more outreaches, more events, more, more, more.  Churches saw this model and said, “we want numbers, do what that guy does” and the event model was born.  This is a quick fix answer that produces no long term results.  Visioning is not about a quick fix, it is about a systematic strategy to reach your goals long-term.

Here is process that I ask myself when I set out to vision.

1)      What do I want long term? (Set a time frame on long-term)

  1. Student who goes through my ministry
  2. Group identity

i.     Growth model, excitement model, education model, family style

  1. For the Individuals in my group

i.     Adult Leaders

ii.     Students

iii.     Director/ Staff

2)      Who is going to help me fulfill our long-term Goal?

  1. Leaders we need to recruit
  2. Students we need to “recruit”

i.     Where do we find them?

ii.     How do we reach them?

iii.     What is our strategy and developing them?

3)      What is our strategy once they are there?

  1. Fun, games, music, teaching, small groups, prayer etc.

4)      What parts of our strategy am I the only one who is capable executing?

5)      What is the natural outgrowth of this?

6)      How do we keep it simple and sustainable?

My ministry model for just my high school

Here is process that I ask myself when I set out to vision.

1)      What do I want long term? (What we want determines why we do things!!!)

  1. We want to see students know Christ and have passionate life-long relationships with Jesus (after high school)
  2. We want to see our students learn how to consistently grow after they leave the youth ministry

i.     Growth in Jesus produces excitement, fellowship and eventually growth in numbers. i.e.-  The book of Acts

  1. For the Individuals in my group

i.     Invest in students on a life to life level

  1. No babysitting, real conversations, real life
    1. List out leaders and specific desires for them.

ii.     Students

  1. Having real relationships with Jesus
    1. i.e.- Matthew (junior in hs)- leading a small group his senior year.

i.     This begs the question-Who am I going to specifically invest in?

2)      Who is going to help me fulfill our long-term Goal?

  1. Leaders we need to recruit
  2. What specific talents do they have?
  3. What specific jobs can I give them?

i.     Abby- Teach Sunday school, Wednesday small group

ii.     Kendra- Help plan event and ministry promotion

iii.     Manny- Teach once a month

iv.     Betty- Teach once a month, help plan events

v.     Janet- Lead games and fellowship time

vi.     Beth- help teach confirmation

  1. Students we need to “recruit”

i.     Contact time at games, plays, school and community activities

ii.     Go out for food after

iii.     Get them plugged into High School ministry and eventually a small group

3)      What is our strategy once they are there?

  1. Get them into relationships with people that will help them (small groups)

4)      What parts of our strategy am I the only one who is capable executing?

  1. Guiding Teaching, Individual meetings with students, Training Adult leaders, leading worship

5)      What is the natural outgrowth of this?

  1. What happens to kids after they graduate- potential college ministry

6)      How do we keep it simple and sustainable?

  1. College ministry- Plug it into one of the services, so they see each other Sunday  and then have an adult couple lead a bible study during the mid-week.

The right questions make everything easier.   The strategy for great vision is great help and adult leaders.  Investing in your adult leaders opens the doors to more growth and flexibility in ministry.  Take time to vision and you will soon find yourself focused less on events and more on changing lives.

A little about Colin Cannon

I am a youth director in Downingtown, PA.  I was born in Ohio and grew up in Connecticut.  I am an avid sports fan and love all Cleveland sports teams.  I enjoy playing guitar, watching movies or TV and really anything that involves as little movement as possible.  I am currently engaged to a beautiful woman, Kelsey and we are getting married next year.  I love ministry and helping students understand God’s personal love for them and the impact that living for Jesus can have in one’s life.

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