5 ways to improve your ministry in 2012

Focus your ministryThe year 2012 is right around the corner! It’s a natural time of the year to implement changes in our ministry, start new things, end old things, and re-focus on what the Lord has before us.

Here are some things you could start thinking through now in order to implement on January 1, 2012, and launch an intentional, focused youth ministry for the upcoming year.

1. Develop a focused plan for your ministry.
Instead of haphazardly going from one event and curriculum series to the next, determine where your specific youth group kids are spiritually and develop a plan to help them move to where they need to be spiritually by the time they graduate high school.

2. Measure that plan.
Having a plan is a great place to start, but if you don’t know how or if it’s actually helping you move students to where they need to be spiritually, it’s all a waste of time. Having a “yard stick” in place to help you know what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be tweaked is essential.

3. Give away the plan.
The ministry’s vision and plan cannot rests on the shoulders of the paid youth worker. It has to be something the entire ministry embraces, takens ownership of, and works toward together. That includes volunteer youth leaders, parents, students, and especially key leadership people in your church.

4. Eliminate good things.
There are so many good things your ministry could be doing, but not all of them will equally help move your students forward spiritually. Thanks to an evaluation process that’s more than, “We had a good turnout!” or, “The kids had a good time!” you can eliminate the good things in order to make space to focus on the best things.

5. Live out your true values.
What you do in your ministry and the decisions you make will always flow out of two things: your ministry’s identity and what you your ministry truly values. If you want to change your ministry’s future trajectory, then you must take a deep, hard look at your underlining issues of identity and values first and change the filter through which everything in your ministry passes.

All of these points describe a focused youth ministry: a ministry that knows specifically what God is leading them to become in order to move His students along a unique trajectory in ways that no other youth ministry can.

How to focus your youth ministry

That’s what I discuss in my new ebook, “Focused Youth Ministry: How to Discover God’s vision for your youth ministry, implement it, and make it sustainable.” This practical “how to” ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God’s vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn’t. Find out more about the new ebook in the Life In Student Ministry Store.

Half of the proceeds of this ebook, up to $5,000, will go to a youth worker in need this Christmas as voted on by the Life In Student Ministry community, so pick up a copy to not only to focus your ministry’s efforts and vision, but also to support a fellow youth worker.

If you are a youth worker in need, you still have until Friday night to submit your story for consideration.

I explain more about the ebook and this giveaway in this video.

Posted on December 6, 2011

  • great post! It is great to focus on what is most important, changed lives!

  • David

    Do you have any suggestions on “measuring sticks” for #2? There are measurable thigns such as attendance, ministry activity and such. But how do you measure those things that aren’t outward and visible?

    • No, I’m not sure attendance and ministry activity are good measuring sticks of spiritual growth. You’re just measuring church busyness. Plus, getting those stats up is as simple as giving away Xboxes and iPods at youth group. Sometimes we misinterpret church involvement for spiritual commitment.

      The ebook walks you and your team through a discussion for figuring out what to measure. For example, how often are your kids sharing Christ with their unsaved friends (i.e. becoming more Christlike since the reason Christ came to earth in the first place is out of a burden for lost people). Or measuring each program’s effectiveness in helping you move the vision forward. Like, knowing if your large group gatherings are having little spiritual influence, but seeing that small groups are leading to incredible spiritual transformation. Or even what about the church’s main worship service? Is that contributing to Christlikeness for students?

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Focused Youth Ministry

This practical "how to" ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God's vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn't.

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