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Did you inherit your youth ministry or build it from scratch? No matter the answer it’s important to take the time to look at what you do and why you do it. Many times you might build a program that was so right for the youth ministry; however, it’s run it’s course. Or, you see the youth ministry down the road doing things one way and you decide to give it a try. Then there are the youth ministers that inherited a program or an event that’s been a tradition of the church. It is a popular event, one that everyone enjoys; however, you feel as someone coming in from the outside that it is unnecessary.
In order to create a long lasting and sustainable youth ministry you need to know what is going to help your ministry grow and flourish. On top of recruiting ministers and reaching out to teens you need to know which programs and events should stay, which ones need to be tweaked and which ones should go. To figure this out make sure you ask these three questions:
- Questions #1: Does this fulfill our purpose? To answer this question it’s important to revisit your mission (Discover the bottom line to your ministry: here) and determining whether or not you are fulfilling it’s purpose. In our case we need to examine whether or not we are still leading teenagers to be authentic, consistent and irresistible examples of Jesus Christ. If a program or component of our ministry does not meet that mission then we’ll only be leading ourselves in circles. A program that fulfills your purpose will fuel your ministry towards it’s vision.
- Question #2: Is this a competing system? It’s good to have a competitive spirit; however, when you start planning programs that compete with other programs in your church or ministry you’ll only find frustration. When this happen you’ll need to look at whether your programs need tweaking, refocusing or possible elimination. When you have competing systems you exhaust yourself and your resources. It will create animosity in the staff culture and in the end no one wins.
- Question #3: Does the labor outweigh the fruit? Sometimes you might have an idea to add to your program. You find that it works and is successful; however, the amount of time you put into it outweighs the benefits. Again, revisit whether or not what you are doing is sustainable and then scale back. This can be painful because it can involve eliminating something we cherished and championed.