As I was thinking about this post “3 potential game-changers”, I came up with more than three, but with this post I also wanted to highlight things that seem common to us in youth ministry. I believe we all do these three things to some degree but if we did them intentionally it could be a game-changer for the ministry. Here are three potential game-changers:
Prayer – Prayer can be the easiest thing to get swept away by the business of youth ministry. The effectiveness of what I do every day in youth ministry relies on me receiving inspiration and direction from God. I love how Jesus would get away and pray. He stayed in communication with God. The key to being consistant in prayer is to be intentional about it. Prayer that is done intentionally can radically change your ministry. This is because you are now prioritizing the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit. Being intentional about prayer is more than just praying before service. It starts with your personal prayer life. If you’re not consistant in your personal prayer life than it will be nearly impossible for you to be consistant in praying for the ministry. Four ways to be intentional:
- It starts with you – Be intentional about your personal prayer life.
- It’s not just something you do – Prayer is your connection to divine wisdom, instruction and direction. Prayer is a big deal and you should treat it as such.
- Be strategic - Be creative and think of ways to getting more people praying for the ministry. One example: we have a lot of parents praying for our ministry. I want to unify them which will strengthen them and also bring more focus to what they pray for. Be strategic in prayer.
Listening - I can’t tell you how many students I’ve spoken with that feels like no one listens to them. Specially those who self-harm or have thoughts of suicide. Listening is a powerful part of ministry that can be overlooked. We can be so quick to give the cause/solution/advice not even realizing that everyone else in their life is probably doing the same thing and no one’s listening. Unless I’m intentional about listening I won’t. I will have answers before there needed and solutions before I hear the whole problem. Listening is just as important as having the solution. Whether you are talking with a student, parent or volunteer be intentional about listening because it says a lot. Three way to be intentional:
- Listen with the intent to listen – listening helps build trust. If people feel like you genuinely listen to them, then they are more apt to listen to you.
- Ask good question – don’t be so quick to respond with advice or the solution because you may miss something. I try and ask a minimum of 20 questions. Asking questions lets them know you are listening.
- Watch your body language – your posture can give off unwanted vibes. So make sure your whole body is attentive to the person speaking. It makes a difference.
Being interrupted – How many times after service, before service, via phone call or a drop by the office were you approached/contacted by a student and you said “heyyyy…how are you?” and they said “I’m alright”with the look of my life is falling a part and I need you to hear me out and speak some life into my situation. I can tell you that happens to me every week. I believe you have to be intentional even about being interrupted. Nothing that is going on during your program or work day is more important than making sure you allow yourself to be interrupted by that student. Three ways to be intentional:
- Pray about it – Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance when interrupted. While things may interrupt us they never interrupt Him. Pray God doesn’t allow you to look the other way.
- Be more specific than the question “how are you” - Most of the time we ask that question out of habit, but in order to be intentional about it you need to be more specific. Ask “how’s freshmen year ” or “how’s the family”. Being specific is an intentional way to let them know you don’t mind being interrupted.
- Followup – I always have them come to me after service because I can forget. I also set up a time to talk with them again.
What else in ministry could be a game-changer if done intentionally?
hope it helps