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How to Build a Lasting Legacy in Ministry

For better or for worse, we are all currently building a legacy.

When we move on to whatever comes next in our life journey, the next generation of leaders will inherit the foundations that have been laid in our youth ministries as well as everything we’ve left unfinished. If we truly believe that the ministries we are honored to serve with are bigger than ourselves, we must be emphatic about serving our ministries in a way that blesses future leaders.

3 areas of a lasting legacy:

Sustainability: A legacy of sustainability is built while we live out the difference between serving others and serving with others. Serving with others is more than delegating tasks. When we serve with others we share the mission and vision of the ministry and trust those we serve with to lead while giving them room to fail. Leaving a legacy of sustainability means we’re working toward this: our volunteers, parents, and students could care for each other and stay connected in a meaningful way, could run every area of the youth ministry, and could serve with the next leader if we were to leave our position.

Biblical Literacy: According to researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli, “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” Let’s be a generation of youth leaders who build a legacy of biblically literate followers of Jesus. I remember inheriting a youth ministry that was heavy on entertainment and light on biblical teaching. Most of the students could not even find the book of Luke without assistance. The leaders before me had not placed a priority on helping students engage in God’s word. Biblical literacy is the gateway to knowing God more. In his 2013 blog post for YM360, Andy Blanks shared a few of the different ways we can build a legacy of biblical literacy that leads to our students knowing God more by helping teenagers engage with Scripture…

  • What about praying through the Psalms as personal worship?
  • What about choosing a specific attribute of God’s and meditating on it over the course of a few days?
  • What about learning some of the different names used for God and choosing to pray to him using a name that speaks to them personally?
  • What about creating something, ANYTHING using Scripture?
  • What about prayer journaling?

Resources: Pierced: The New TestamentJesus-Centered Devotions: Center Your Life On Jesus

Authentic Community: Authentic simply means not false. Students in our ministry should be experiencing real community. We build a legacy of authentic community when we truly love and connect with each student. We not only take notice when they are at youth group, we also take notice when they are not at youth group. We celebrate their victories and support them in their failures. Authentic community is happy to welcome new friends. We are not just a youth group or group of youth; we are a youth community, grafted together by the love of God. Future generations of youth leaders should inherit authentic communities not youth groups.

Resources: Why We Do What We Do and You, Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry

Today the journey starts. We can leave a legacy that will serve the next generation of leaders. Serve with others, help students engage in Scripture, and do not foster a false sense of community but lead authentic community. We’re praying for you as you do it.

Love – T

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