Create A Simple Yet Effective Ministry

Courtesy of Mr. Usaji/Creative Commons License

A few years back we were talking to the middle school students about Hebrews 4:12:

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Two of our leaders designed an activity to really drive home the power of God’s word.  It’s an understatement to say that they went overboard.  To do this they gave teens little plastic swords with different scripture versus written on the blade of each one.  Around the room were several mini pinatas with different sins written on them hanging from the ceiling.  The idea was to see which student could destroy the most sins using God’s word.

In the end there were several problems:

  • First: The game took forever because plastic swords aren’t as powerful as they might look. 
  • Secondly: There were so many roles to coordinate the game, but no one to fill them.
  • Lastly: Middle school students with plastic swords is an open door to unnecessary pain.  

Basically, it was overly complex and inefficient in achieving our goal.

As youth ministers it’s important to create programming and activities that are not going to wear you out.  That means looking at whether the fruit outweighs the labor and knowing if the purpose behind it is clear.  When it comes to events, activities or even the structures of our ministries, we need to make sure that we are being simple; yet, effective.  To do this you must:

  • Create A Basic Framework – If all else fails, what do you want your ministers to do?  For our small groups the format is simple: Pray Together, Share Life And Pray For One Another. It’s not original; however, it’s simple.  Even though we have discussion questions there are not elaborate lesson plans that require a lot of prep work.  Because it’s simple it’s easy to remember and easy to build on.  
  • Make Flexible Components – In our large group program we have three main components: Music, Message And Activity.  Usually each program follows the same order; however, we can still change up the order or length of each component.  By doing this it keeps things interesting and teens won’t find themselves stuck in a pattern.  Creating flexible components means giving yourself the ability to shift things around so that you can adjust for last minute changes.
  • Put The Who Before The What – No matter how great the idea, if you don’t have the right people leading the initiative, it will fail.  You need to make sure you are putting your best people in the biggest opportunities, because it will take the ministry that much further.  By placing a leader in a program before it is launched ensures that it has someone to carry the burden.  This will give you more freedom to focus on what you were called to do.

Keeping it simple means knowing the who and the what.  As youth ministers it isn’t about fabricating some amazing event that will blow their minds, it’s about connecting them with Christ who will do it for you.  As you adjust, tweak and build your ministry keep in my simplicity because it will take you further than you think.

How do you keep your ministry simple; yet, effective?