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Is Your Ministry A Movement?

Chris Wesley —  January 22, 2013 — 7 Comments

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day, a day when we reflect on the sacrifice and leadership of not just a great man; but, a powerful church leader.  Honestly, I’ve never really celebrated or reflected on what this day has meant until recently.  It’s a day that not only commemorates how this country moved forward; but, the church as well.  It’s a day that commemorates how the church was a part of a great movement.

Your youth ministry isn’t just a program, activity or a club, it’s a movement.  It’s easy to forget how much of an impact your ministry can have on the community.  You get lost in the details of meetings, paperwork and disappointment.  For us it’s hard enough to:

  • Write A Talk
  • Plan A Game
  • Show A Video
  • Serve Pizza

For us to challenge, encourage and commission your teens to go out and change the world is exhausing.  Sometimes it’s not just about what you say; but, what you do.  So how do you, in the midst of the business, transfer your ministry into a movement?

  • Include Application: Whether it’s an activity, or a message make sure that there is an action step for you teens to take.  Give them a vision so that they are inspired and the steps that will take them there.  The best action steps are tangible, clear and simple.  Once you set them up for success you will see the momentum and enthusiasm build.  They’ll realize, “I can be a part of something.”
  • Empower Through Small Groups:  It takes a lot of work to create big crowd mission trips and events.  You have to multiply your efforts which can lead to error and stress.  With small groups you put ownership on the leaders who will empower their 6-8 students.  Once you get one group going, you can use them as an example and inspiration to get the other moving.
  • Partner With The Community: While working in the trenches and sitting with the students is important, a youth minister needs to be working with schools, community organizations and local businesses to really increase influence.  Sometimes change happens by working within the systems.  As a youth leader that means looking at yourself a community partner.

There are times when youth ministries just need to sit back, relax and have fun; however, in the end it needs to also move.  A youth ministry that moves is one that creates change.  A youth ministry that moves is one that grows.  Next time you feel the ministry is growing stale or mundane, ask yourself, “Where does this need to move?”

How do you make your ministry a movement?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

Chris Wesley

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7 responses to Is Your Ministry A Movement?

  1. Chris, you are right on. Too many times we think in terms of programs, rather than asking, “How does God want to use this ministry and these teenagers?” We’re still figuring it out, but putting an emphasis on small groups has been huge for us. As a church, we have three aspects that are required to be a part of every small group, or it’s not a small group to us: growing in a relationship with God, caring for one another, and serving others. The last one is the hardest one to implement, because it takes initiative on the part of the leaders and teenagers in each group. However, we’ve been building these groups for three years now, and it’s really cool to see fruit that we never would have seen with just plain old programs. Great post!

  2. Benjer,

    Thanks for the feedback. I like the 3 aspects of small group. I think having a framework to our groups (even if we want them relational) is key. It’s within the framework changes aren’t as radical and it will create more exponential growth.

  3. Today I was reading some John Maxwell and he encourages leaders to add value to others. I wonder if that principle could translate to entire groups. It’s one thing to draw a lot of teenagers to an event, it’s quite another to be a ministry that consistently adds value to others in the community.

    I also believe that to create a movement you need to transfer passion to others. The best kinds of movements are the ones that carry themselves with their own momentum. It requires you to give power away, which can be kind of scary for control-freaks like me, but it’s also exciting.

    • Nick,

      Thanks for sharing what you learned from John Maxwell. I also agree that giving away power and control to others will freak us out; however, in the end it’s necessary. We do need to grow in order to be a movement and that means letting go of what is holding us back.

  4. Amazing. I have just moved to a new, growing church and have been instituting gatherings, environments, and MOVEMENTS not ministries to our programming. There is something so significant about calling them movements that is incredibly critical, as well. I’m currently in the process of training our people to understand the new terminology as a philosophy and not just nice words. Students have been grabbing this and running with it and it is really cool to watch and be a part of.

    Thanks for the article Chris!

    • Geoff,

      Awesome to hear, so happy that just a small word can create momentum. I think sometimes we try to shake things up more than necessary, when really it’s just a change of perspective. Keep rallying the troops and inspiring teens and volunteers.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Is Your Ministry In The Schools? | More Than Dodgeball - January 24, 2013

    [...] other day I wrote a post, “Is Your Ministry A Movement”, which asked the question: “How are you making your ministry move?” One of the [...]

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