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3 Steps for Leveraging Your Environment to Build Momentum

3 Steps for Leveraging Your Environment to Build Momentum


Great news! Your hero is coming to town and has plans to visit YOU! You get word that they’re showing up on Saturday afternoon, and after the quick burst of excitement, you jump into action. My best guess is that you start identifying all the areas that need to be cleaned, the furniture that needs to be adjusted, and pictures that need to be swapped out on the walls. This person of honor has to get the royal treatment!

This is a far-fetched dream for most of us, but the point is that when someone important shows up, we go the extra mile to “set the table.”

This week in your ministry environment, you have an opportunity to welcome a special guest, a new student. Do you approach new students with the same level of intentionality as you would your hero? How you answer that question will shed a little light on your level of preparation for the new student showing up in your environment. Consider that you have ONE CHANCE to make an impression, one opportunity for a new student to feel like they belong, one first chance to meet them on their level. What is their impression?

In my ministry, we consider that a new student might give us ONE chance to try out our ministry. We want them to want to return and not simply be forced back by their parent. I've created a handout for my teams to evaluate our environments, and I think it could be helpful for you too. Use this tool to make necessary adjustments to develop an environment for students to belong.

After downloading the PDF, check out this 3 step process for leveraging your environment to build momentum.

1. Evaluate Your Ministry

  • How does your environment SEE students? The goal of this question is to help you cultivate compassion. For example, Jesus would SEE the crowd and have compassion on them. Asking yourself this question enables you to gauge how you currently view new students, which will be the launching pad for understanding how to answer the following questions and what needs to change within your environment.
  • Evaluation Check Box Area also gives a quick gauge of how your team specifically greets new students. First impressions matter and an intentional plan to welcome new guests will help to build momentum.

Bottom 4 Blocks

  • Pre/Before/Prepared Section – Write down what you are doing to prepare your environment. Some examples would be how you communicate with leaders beforehand, how you prepare your leaders to greet new students, or anything you do to make it easy for new students to know what’s going on when they arrive.
  • What's Working Section – Take a moment to brag on yourself. Acknowledge what you do well and plan to keep doing it.
  • Improve Section – Any good evaluation tool will help to push you forward. Be honest with yourself and take a step. There won’t be any progress made in your environment without a bit of honesty about where you might be falling short.
  • Dream Section – Your dream about what you want your environment to look like helps create a vision. When you have a vision, it will become easier to lead a team forward.

2. Share with Your Team

In your ministry context, you may oversee staff and volunteers or be the person wearing multiple hats. Whomever your team is, I encourage you to use this tool to bring them in on the evaluation. When you ask for their input, it communicates that you value their insight and opinions and want their help executing change. You will discover a team empowered to make a difference when they’re allowed to share ideas.

3. Make Needed Changes

When using a tool like this, it can create amazing ideas. You won’t be able to do them all, so give yourself some grace. Pick one to work on right now. That vision block will help to drive towards a positive future. Just like any process, it can feel like a formula. You just have to keep trying different things until something works. But before you begin the above process, dig inside and cultivate a passion within your heart. Ask yourself, why is this important for you?

I believe that your environment can help to build momentum in your ministry. It can cultivate a place where students belong and are ready to hear more about Jesus.


Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:

  • What do you think a new student would say about your ministry environment right now?
  • What does your ministry do to welcome new students and help them to feel like they belong?

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