Why Your Ministry Should Only Be 3 People

I don’t know maybe this is revolutionary, maybe not for you, but for me it is (at least at 1am).  What if we (youth ministers) just focused on 3 teens at a time?  Chew on that for a minute before you continue to read on.  I’m just saying, think about 3 teens that you would just pour out the majority of your energy and attention into.  Granted you might not get the best 3 right away, but think about it, wouldn’t that be:

SIMPLE?

Speaking of simple, here’s a simple fact: Jesus had 12 disciples and of those 12 there were 3 He was real close to (Peter, James and John).  Not that the other 9 weren’t important, it’s just that Jesus had a plan.  Now take that fact and think about this: Why do we feel like we need to invest in more than 3 or even 12 teens at one time?  Pressure to grow numbers? Fear of not reaching everyone? Popularity? Pride?  It’s a good question because when it comes down to it:

  • Our Range Of Influence Is Limited: I don’t know about you but I have a hard time keeping track of all the students in my ministry.  Not that I have a lot, but I’m not a master of names.  If I have that much trouble remembering multiple names how do I expect to influence multiple lives at the same time?  I can’t because I have limits.
  • Focused Ministry Means Larger Impact:  If I’m focused the obstacles are clearer, the goals seem reachable, the vision has more detail.  It’s the good ole adage “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  In order to have an impact you need to be focused on the people you are serving.
I know you might be wondering “What about the other teenagers?”  Great question, but the 3 principle doesn’t stop there because you begin to focus on 3 of your adult ministers.  Share life, values and vision with them.  Spend time getting to know them, treat them to coffee, or bring them to a conference.  As you invest in them, ask them to invest in other ministers.
I’m not saying stop managing people or don’t do a large group program, what I’m saying is who you invest in should be a limited amount of people.
As you get more comfortable with that principle take it to the last level and invest in 3 other youth ministers in your area.  Doesn’t matter if you have 10 days or 10 years invest in them because you believe in them.  Take them out for a bite to eat, listen to their woes, pray for their families.
Maybe your number isn’t 3, maybe you feel like it’s 5…that’s fine, but don’t forget about your limits and the need to focus.  Whatever the number is, just focus.  

Try it out, think about it and let me know what you think.
How do you invest in your students, ministers, and fellow youth workers?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Love this! something I have been thinking about a lot lately (not the specific number of 3), but mentoring/discipling more purposefully.

    Just did some Disciplemaking is Relationships training with Bill Allison – great stuff along these lines.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  • Jonathan, glad you liked the post, yeah you don’t have to believe in 3, just have to pick a number. The other thing I would add is the 3 people you start with may not be the 3 you end with because life will happen or some will not connect with you. Regardless just invest.