Youth ministry

Every Tuesday I eat lunch with our children’s ministry pastor, Steve Adams. I do it for three reasons: He’s a good friend, he's an extremely strategic thinker, and every youth pastor needs to be in cahoots with the children’s pastor.

Last week, while I chewed on a bunless chiliburger (yes, chili burgers are totally healthy if you exclude the bun), Steve shared four key questions he asks about his ministry on a regular basis. Pretty simple stuff, really, but I suddenly realized it had been a while since I asked these types of questions myself. And I think they are worth asking.

1. Why does our ministry exist? This probably isn’t one you need to ask over and over, but have you ever asked it? Knowing why your ministry exists helps determine just about every other decision you make.

2. Where are we headed? You may actually want to ask this question two different ways, one as an assessment (“Are we heading the right direction?") and one as a point of clarity (“Where are we headed? Here!”).

3. How are we going to get there? Once you know where things are headed, you need a strategic plan. Aiming for a target is good, but the target is impossible to hit without some arrows in your quiver. Going on a grand expedition is exciting, but it could be frustrating without a map!

4. Who can we bring along? Not “Who do we need to help us?” (which is a good question, but that’s a task question, not a leadership question). Instead ask “Who can we bring along who will learn from this, grow from this, and as a result help multiply our ministry and the kingdom?”

Steve keeps saying he’s gonna write a book about church/team leadership. I sure hope he does because it will be a good one! But until then, I’ll just keep stealing his thoughts and creating blog posts about them.

Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4 percent of his time.

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