Youth ministry
Are you focusing on the finished product of your youth before they leave your ministry? (Lightstock)

If I ask you why you care for the students who are in your youth ministry, you will probably say something about helping them growing in their faith. I inquire, “OK, who do you want them to be?” You say something about them being fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Yet if we are honest, when we take a step back and look at how we run our ministries, it is not always with the end result in mind. We plan a calendar, take trips, run small groups and do activities.

Some of us will say our focus needs to be on helping parents disciple their children; others say we need to build student leaders, do outreach, share the gospel or simply pour into our youth. However, I would contend there are two questions that should drive everything we do in our ministries:

1. When a student leaves us, what will they look like? I, of course, am not talking about their voice and body changing into an adult. Let’s say a family enters your church and has a baby. This baby grows up in the church through all the ministries and then graduates, leaves home and heads out into the “real world.”

Who is that young adult? Is he or she a fully devoted follower of Christ? What does that mean? Do they read their Bible every day, tell others about Christ, pray often and enter the mission field? How is everyone in your church working together to see this happen?

The time of the “silo” between nursery, children, youth and adults needs to be over. What are we doing to work together to grow our children? Let’s stop starting over every time our kids enter a new phase of life. Instead, let's see each of us as part of their journey into their lives as someone taking the world for Christ.

2. How does what we are doing influence who they are becoming? The second question has to do with our programming and approach. There was a time when I would say the main question we needed to ask before embarking on anything was, “How does this build a relationship?” That is still vital, and it’s a great filter. Yet still we have a tendency to make plans based on who is standing in front of us today, not in the future.

When we plan this way, we run everything we do through a sieve of purpose. It helps us know what not to take on and what might need readjusting. So you take students on a missions trip yearly. Why? How is this part of the journey in the Lord? What do you need to do to get them ready or to follow up with them afterwards? Are you teaching them about service and why that matters when they are 8 or 9 years old and again and again before the trip ever happens? This helps with equipping parents and growing the body of Christ as a whole.

These are not questions we can ask once, but often. I contend they should be asked anytime the church does anything. At least quarterly, sit down as a full staff and see how you are working together.

It doesn’t really matter if a student jumps in when they are 5 or 15 years old. When we do ministry this way, we are all about moving with Jesus all the time.

Are you asking these questions?

Leneita Fix is the director of ministry development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family-focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County in New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years.

For the original article, visit morethandodgeball.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

    10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

    One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders