General Ministry

The other day I wrote a post, “Is Your Ministry A Movement”, which asked the question:

“How are you making your ministry move?”

One of the suggestions was to partner with the community. This enables you to not only influence teens inside your church; but, ones who would never even come close to a church. A reader asked specifically, “What would it look like to partner with some of the local schools in order to be a movement in the community?” Here are a few suggestions for you to try in your local schools:

  • Recruit Advocates: These might be teachers or coaches (who are members of the church) who act as eyes and ears for your ministry. Have them inform you when anything major happens. They know who the Christian and unchurched teens are and can use you as a resource when appropriate. They are where you cannot always be.
  • Outsource: Instead of competing with para church organizations like Young Life, look to partner up with them. Most of their missions are to reach the unchurch and connect them with a local church. Be that local church for them and support them to live out their mission. This takes trust, accountability and transparency.
  • Commission Your Small Group Leaders: Invest in small group leaders to invest in teens outside your regular gathering. That means encouraging them to go to plays, sporting events, volunteering at dances etc. It’ll make your presence known in subtle ways and show the teens support in their everyday lives.
  • Be A Resource: If you have private schools feeding into your ministry meet with the campus minister and build a relationship with him or her. Offer your services to help with school retreats, chapel, etc. With public schools call the principals and guidance counselors and let them know that you can be available.

While you might want to start your own programs within schools look to building relationships first. This way you aren’t competing against others or using up valuable resources. Partnering in the community is intimidating because it means having awkward conversations and allowing other people to critique your ministry. But, that’s not a bad thing, because it will hold you accountable and allow you to grow in the best way possible.

Invite teenagers into an epic adventure with Jesus. Check out Pierced: The New Testament today!

How are you partnering with schools in your community?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

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  • Campus Minister says:

    Hi Chris! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on campus ministry! As a campus minister who works alongside a public school system, I applaud ministries such as yours who advance the Kingdom through serving local schools. I serve under the umbrella of a movement of unity between 60 plus churches and non profit organizations. I am accountable and hired through one church with the laser focus of serving a specific school system.

    May I compliment your article? Hopefully my mistakes and my experiences will serve as a guide for you. My encouragement to you and others who read this article are two-fold:

    – Take seriously your investment into a local school. Is your church prepared for you (and possibly your team) to rub shoulders with the “least of these” and the results of investment of relationships into them? Investment into schools has led me to some amazing yet unique situations involving expectant mothers and fathers, homeless students, a combination of these together and LGBTQ teens. The last thing a unbelieving world needs to see is someone drop the ball in Jesus’ name. Which leads me to my next statement:

    – My experience has been that for this generation, the Bride of Christ is often seen resembling a particular controversial group in Topeka, Kansas. While highly inaccurate, it is important that you go in with the understanding that if you encounter opportunities to share Christ (which is appropriate in after school settings not during school) they most likely won’t happen until the Image of Christ is first repaired. Having said that, the mandate to move into cultures, and in particular the mission field of a local school, is a harvest that is waiting for Kingdom workers to capitalize on it!

    How are you partnering with schools in your community?

    • Well said. Thank you for sharing your experience and I agree especially with your last few points about going in with the mindset that some perspectives need to be repaired before a relationship with Christ is brought into the mix. It comes down to just being as honest about our humanity as possible and as loving as God can make us. Thanks again.

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