With the Superbowl done and the NFL season over, many teams are in the midst of that dreaded region known as “Rebuilding Mode.” Every team has “needs” (the holes in their roster), and so, after evaluating talent and questioning past behavior, each team has a chance to draft new talent. Every youth ministry needs to rebuild.
When it comes to youth ministry, youth pastors and volunteers are constantly evaluating the spiritual growth of students and the servants that work with them. Many times, however, a church or group finds itself in a “rebuilding” mode of some kind.
- Maybe a group of seniors is close to graduating, thereby reducing the group dynamic in a few short months.
- Maybe the church struggles to consistently have students participate and show up during the week, let alone Sunday.
To “Rebuild” may sound horrendous for a youth pastor or church to utter, but it is one that is necessary if the youth ministry. Especially if they wish to survive and engage the future for Christ.
Just like every sports team, every church must discuss these 3 areas if they are to survive and grow:
- Identity. Every offseason, management and coaches wrestle with their team’s identity, as well as reflect on how their style of play impacted their teams offense and defense. The same could be said of youth ministry: What will this group be about? Will leaders push for more outreach and service projects, or will the group be about activities and Bible study? Answering these questions is vital for the group to gain momentum. It can also help leaders learn more about what the students are interested in. Just like a football team, the group—by strategic design or not—takes on an identity. If you are rebuilding, make sure the foundation is based on God’s word, and follows the group dynamic that you have been blessed with.
- Core players/coaches=a lot of wins. The sports franchises that tend to do well year in and year out usually have the most continuity. From management down to players and coaches, the “team’s system” is in place and has core people running it. The same can be said of youth ministries that are trying to rebuild. You will struggle to have kids consistently show up if your volunteers and staff are also inconsistent. Likewise, if the student dynamic is one that has few “core kids” (defined as kids that show up all the time, engaged in what the leaders are doing), it will be difficult to rebuild. If we look to Scripture, we see that Jesus found the 1 or 2 individuals that were truly willing to follow Him, and revealed Himself to them.
- Study and Prepare for Rebuild! Every week, coaches study their opponents and devise ways to maximize the strengths of their players. Youth workers need to constantly be growing in their craft to take on new challenges. You must constantly read (Sustainable Youth Ministry by Mark DeVries is a great resource), be in God’s word, and put into practice what the Lord has put on your heart, trusting Him to bring out the best in students. It is no surprise that when leaders try to “wing it,” they feel ill equipped to work with students. Don’t make this a habit: PREPARE
Rebuild your ministry by taking time to evaluate and grow it. Challenge yourself to always get ahead and lead the industry. By focusing on the path ahead you can make sure your youth ministry is in constant rebuild mode.
How do you rebuild in your youth ministry?
This is a guest post from Andrew Madaus is the Director of Education and Student Ministries at Glide Baptist Church in Glide Oregon. You can follow him @andrewmadaus. If you are interested in submitting a blog post on Marathon Youth Ministry click here.