Tag Archives: Mission

2016 Youth Ministry Goals

In Philippians 3:14, Paul was not talking about youth ministry goals.  But I still love the phrase “press on toward the goal”.  In ministry, you must do just that…”press on”.  It is important to reflect on your past accomplishments, like I did last week, and grow from your mistakes and build on your successes.  But, it is also vital in ministry to look ahead, plan, and seek God’s guidance for the year ahead.  Below are 10 goals for the 2016 ministry year.  Hopefully these will provide you with ideas and/or encouragement for the coming year.shutterstock_263635745

  1. Short Term Mission Trip – Mission trips are a part of our ministry every summer in a cycle of local, out-of-state, international, and work trips. This way, the 4 year high school experience will allow for various types of mission work. This year a trip to New York is in the works.
  2. Inter-generational Ministry Continued Improvement – A tech class for seniors, service projects combined with adult small groups, guest speakers, mentoring initiatives, and integrated mission projects.
  3. Better Timing – Each year I look at my schedule and there is always at least one “why did I schedule that there?”.   This year I want to make a more conscious effort in the timing of events and programs. Team with parents in working out better schedules. Not all conflicts can be avoided, but why not adjust the schedule if it can be.
  4. Family Series – I have been trying to find more ways to gather the family together in a youth ministry context. This year, I plan to teach a small series on the family with the entire family.
  5. Co-Mission Event – Continue the annual co-mission, which is a mission conference for students. This year, there may be some changes to enhance and improve the evangelism training for the students.
  6. Series on Fear – I read recently teens have a wide array of fears. Fear is often what keeps them from doing right and what tempts them to do wrong. Fear takes them places they don’t want to go and holds them hostage when they want to leave. Fear is something we need to talk about.
  7. Winter Retreat – In the past, the winter has been difficult to draw up enough interest for a retreat. Part of it is timing with winter sports, weather, and life. But this year we hope will be different having a younger group.
  8. Service – Each year we place a heavy emphasis on service and provide ample opportunity to serve in the church and in the community. This year is no different with continuous plugging in of students in church life and a community/church service project scheduled every month.
  9. Global Emphasis – With the World in Need month continuing this year, we plan to place an emphasis on the issue of poverty across the world. We hope to encourage the students to not only pray but be a world-changer and do something about global poverty.
  10. Apprenticeships – Along with having a youth intern this year, I want to encourage the student leaders to seek out mentoring opportunities. These will be called apprenticeships within the student leadership team, but outside the group it is simply the older students helping the younger students with life. Mentoring needs to happen both up and down…being mentored, and mentoring others.
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3 Ways to Face Criticism in Ministry…Jesus-Style

Have you ever faced criticism in your ministry?  Either you responded with a question like “Is Bill Gates rich?” or a denominational question about the Pope, or you are new to ministry.  Not to be a downer here if you haven’t already, in due time, you will face some sort of criticism of your ministry.  Criticism comes from a variety of sources:  well-meaning parents, mean parents, accidentally by a student, incidentally by a student, consistently by a student, a senior pastor, your senior pastor, various church members, your wife, your kids, yourself…the list goes on.

Well you know who else faced criticism in ministry?  I know.  I kind of gave it away in the title.  Yes, it’s Jesus.  One clear example is found in John 11.  Let me quickly set this one up for you.  He just lost a dear friend.  He was so deeply moved, in verse 35, it says he wept.  I’ll give you a second to read that verse (just one second).  In verse 36, we see people empathize with Jesus.  However, in verse 37 is where we find criticism, basically saying, “Why didn’t Jesus do something about this?”

It’s interesting the circumstances. Jesus was suffering from a personal tragedy, yet people voiced their displeasure with his ministry to others.  Sound familiar?  Isn’t it usually after a long, exhausting overnighter that left you excited at decisions that were made, when you heard from a parent “Where was the youth pastor when these two snuck off together?”  Or maybe after a long, intense, spiritually and emotionally charged mission trip, a student that doesn’t attend complained “Why haven’t you planned any fun events this summer?”

How do we respond to these types of pins that let the air out of our ministry balloon?  Here are 3 ways to face criticism, Jesus-style:criticism2

Don’t Let It Affect Your MOVEMENT

I love the next verse following the criticism in verse 37.  It says “Jesus, deeply moved again”.  It was almost as if John was taking a shot here.  “Did you hear that, critical people, Jesus is hurting here!  Hello, do I need to give you more time to read verse 35?”  Just in case you didn’t notice the first time he WEPT!  It seems like John is sticking up for His friend and Savior here.

But the main point is this:  The criticism did not stop Jesus from being moved with compassion.  It didn’t stunt his emotions.  It didn’t stop his movement towards the cave.  How often does criticism stop us in our tracks?  Where we forget about the life decisions made at camp or the spiritual impact of an event or lesson, and we focus on the words of a few.  Jesus didn’t let it stop Him.

Don’t Let It Affect Your MINISTRY

God has given you a purpose for your ministry.  It is important you do what is best for the students that you are shepherding.  Sometimes you have to look past the criticism when you know what you are doing is clearly the ministry God-directed.  Sure, you have conversations, but your ministry cannot change to please the minority.

Look here.  Jesus told them to remove the stone in verse 39.  Martha saw this as stupid (actually she saw this as smelly, but you know what I mean).  Jesus took the time to explain this was for the glory of God, and he continued.

See what I mean.  Some will see what you are doing as foolish.  Maybe you cancel a traditional event, or you cut back office hours to spend on campus.  As long as it is God-led, you have the support of key leaders and administration; you may just have to tell people, this is being done for God’s glory, and keep moving.  That’s what Jesus did.

Don’t Let It Affect Your MISSION

What is our ultimate mission?  I would hope it would resemble the great commission, and your mission is to reach students with the gospel and make disciples.  Criticism can stop us from completing this mission.  “This will cost too much money”.  “Students will never listen to this…or come to this”.  “The youth pastor looks too much like Mr. Bean” (Okay that last one may just apply to me).

Check this out.  According to most of your Bibles, the story of Jesus Raises Lazarus is over.  Or is it?  In verse 45, because of this miracle, what happens to several of Mary’s friends?  They believe!  That’s right.  Because Jesus didn’t let criticism stop Him from His ultimate mission, the lost saw the power of Jesus, and they believed!

What if you stop short of your mission because of criticism?  Would it result in the lost not seeing the power of Jesus and believing?  Don’t miss the story in your ministry either, because in the next verse in your story, there may be a teenager that becomes a child of God.  Jesus knew the end of the story, and he kept with His mission.

 

Your movement, ministry, and mission are too important.  Maybe criticism is the stone in your way, and you just need Jesus to take away the stone.  And, in the end, God will get the glory, and you might see a miracle happen in your ministry…you might see students come to Jesus.

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