Fall is a season of new beginnings. A new school year. A new football season. A new wardrobe (or so I’m told…not so much in Southern California). AND a host of new expectations for your youth ministry. Your Senior Pastor expects attendance to increase. Parents expect you to cater to their child. Volunteers expect you to equip them. Students expect you to be generally awesome. Elders expect you to be clean-cut and look the part…or to at least wear socks.
And you have a lot of expectations, too! Be more balanced with your time. Become a better teacher. Get more organized. Recruit more volunteers. Say “no” to the wrong things so you can say “yes” to the right things. And on and on and on.
So what do you focus on? How do you decide what matters most when you simply can’t do it all? What is the most important piece of the puzzle as you head into fall? This was the question I was asked to blog about this week, and I think the answer is shockingly simple.
STRATEGY. Or you may prefer the word “PURPOSE.” Or perhaps you like “MISSION.” Regardless of the word-choice, here’s what I’m getting at. The most important thing you can do this fall is to define why your ministry exists, and what you are going to do to accomplish that.
Here’s why having a strategy, purpose or mission is so important: Because everything else flows from that starting point. Without a strategy, you are simply throwing darts at a blank wall, then drawing the target around the dart! A strategy gives you a target to aim for and lets you know how your aim is!
Your pastor wants attendance to increase? A strategy will help you determine healthy growth steps.
Your volunteers want to be equipped? A strategy will help you know where to focus your training.
Parents want you to cater to their child? A strategy will help communicate to parents what your ministry can and cannot do.
Students want you to be generally awesome? A strategy will give you and your ministry clarity, focus and direction resulting in a generally awesome experience for teenagers!
You want to be more balanced with your time, become a better teacher, get more organized, recruit more volunteers and say “no” to the wrong things so you can say “yes” to the right things? A strategy will help you accomplish each.
Our youth ministry has a well-articulated strategy. We know why we exist and how we are going to get there. It dictates virtually every decision we make, and it’s the standard we use to measure our successes and failures.
I can’t imagine heading into fall without one.
What do you want to accomplish in your ministry this fall?