by John Park, UYWI
In youth ministry, the start of a new school year brings lots of excitement to re-engage students with new program launches like small groups and leadership development or just starting up the weekly hang out time with youth. But in the busy-ness of running youth ministry have you ever paused to think about what are the goals for this season of youth ministry? Too often, we youth workers can overlook the structure and importance that setting goals gives to our ministries because we are so busy operating for the immediate needs each and every week.
In Habakkuk 2:2, God says to the prophet Habakkuk, who was complaining for the second time, to ‘write down the vision and make it plain on a tablet so that a herald may run with it.’ Often when it comes to dreaming about how God can use our youth ministries, we have no problem with that but when it comes to documenting it and sticking to that plan that can be a harder thing to do. So, here’s a look how to move from Vision to Goal setting to Action. What is key to all of these steps…WRITE IT DOWN.
- Set a Vision – What’s the dream from God you have regarding this youth ministry? Think about it, pray about it and write it down.
- Set Goals – What things do you want to accomplish in this ministry and what things do you want to accomplish with this ministry? These are large and can be overwhelming if not looked at with realistic eyes. So evaluate what capacity you have and the capacity of your youth ministry, your volunteers, student leaders and set goals that your youth ministry will work towards in this year. Here are a few for you to consider.
- Biblical Teaching: If you are preaching in your youth ministry. What’s the goal for the Biblical teaching to your youth? Think about how you can set a goal around content, Biblical truth and relevant topics to fill your teaching calendar with a thorough set of content. Write it down.
- Discipleship: Jesus charged us all to go and make disciples. So what goals do you have for discipleship? Are you using a set curriculum or have you developed your own? Think about what it will look like for a successful year of discipleship, where students are intentionally and actively becoming learners and doers of God’s word and the teachings of Jesus. Write it down.
- Evangelism/Outreach: Christ also commanded to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Think about what is your youth ministry’s goal for evangelism will be. It may be challenging students to share the Gospel with a friend each month or taking the initiative for you to be present on a local school campus. But without a goal for outreach and evangelism, most of our good intentions go inactive. So set a goal for this. Write it down.
- Growth: Yeah, I said it. The inevitable question many youth workers get is ‘how big is your youth group?’ It can seem like such a measuring stick to give an answer. With the average youth group in America still hovering around 10, don’t focus on your number. Instead, what would numerical growth mean and look like in your ministry? Would it mean kids are sharing about Jesus to others or inviting friends to the House of God to find community? Having a goal for growth will help you look at how actively you are giving practical tools to youth to live out their faith. Write it down.
- Make a Plan – This is where the wheels get into motion. For all of the thinking, praying, ideas and dreams you’ve had, putting a plan in place will let you execute your dreams and figure out the real details of teaching, training and building up your youth ministry. This will include content and scheduling along with taking a realistic look at your resources and goals. If all is taken into consideration, you are likely to have a great plan as a result. Write it down.
This finally gets you to the TO DO LIST. Really, thinking about all that you are doing to move students towards knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord will lead you to a To Do List that’s not just filled up with buy snacks, plan a game and schedule youth group outing. Instead, you will have the TO DO’s like connect with discipleship group, plan leadership training, develop outreach strategy, pray for self, intercede for students, read Scripture, etc. With your TO DO LIST in hand, you’ll be ready to take on this new school year with all that God has for you.