6 Ways to Cast Your 2021 Ministry Vision for Youth Ministry
I often picture what it must have been like for the great explorers to walk into kings and queens' throne rooms. The charisma and wit of these adventurers enabled them to convince monarchies to enable their dreams to life. We are all moved by passion, and when we see the passion of others, it can often inspire action. The same is true for our youth ministry, especially heading into a new year. 2021 has the potential for us to navigate uncharted waters, operate in the beginnings of a post-pandemic youth ministry, and ensure this will be a year that truly matters. To accomplish these goals, we'll need vision. We have put together a shortlist of ways to help bring this vision to your people.
1. Bring Leaders into the Vision Casting Process
In one of my first internships in youth ministry, I witnessed a disaster of an event. We, the interns, had ruined some of the preparation, and the event fell off the rails entirely. The next day, we gathered in our Student Pastor's office, awaiting the certain scolding. "Everything rises and falls with leadership. This event didn't go well, but I didn't prepare you as well as I should have." At this moment, I became a raving fan of this leader, and I understood the true significance of leadership.
You have leaders and volunteers who are essential for the success of your youth ministry. Some of these individuals have been serving for decades, and others are brand new families to the ministry. Believe it or not, the title youth minister doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about student ministry. When you bring these leaders into the process of creating and casting a vision for the future of your ministry, you'll begin to see some areas you didn't before. You'll also have immediate buy-in from these leaders who are ready and invested in seeing this ministry's future. 2020 was a tough year for pretty much everyone, your leaders included. Everything rises and falls with leadership, and a team of leaders on the same page can change the world.
2. Bring Students into the Vision Casting Process
The vision for your youth ministry will affect many people, but most importantly, it will affect the students. This might be a shocking concept to some, but bringing in your students to the process creates even more buy-in for the ministry. When we talked about student leadership teams, one of the largest benefits was the influence students have in bringing other students to the ministry.
Often we can believe students do not have a larger vision or hope for their youth ministry. When we play into the devil's hand, it becomes an apathetic approach to believe students just want to attend events. Your students want to see their youth ministry thrive, and they usually have opinions on what could and should change. You don’t have to follow every suggestion from your students, but I promise you involving them in the vision casting process will create excitement, energy, and involvement for your entire ministry.
3. Pray, Pray Some More, Eat, and Pray Again
We stress this often in our articles because it is one of the most overlooked aspects of youth ministry. I am guilty of this as well, and it almost catches me off-guard when people suggest we stop and pray. You are not casting YOUR vision for the student ministry. This is an opportunity for you to connect with God and understand the vision and direction He is looking to take HIS ministry you are a steward of.
Youth ministry vision designed to shock and awe will fade out just like your LED lights, a 7th-grade boy hit with a dodgeball. Vision inspired by prayer and connection with God will last and create eternal impact. When you think you've prayed enough, go grab a monster energy drink, and then get praying some more!
4. Align with your Church’s 2021 Ministry Vision
Every church casts a vision for their ministry; in fact, the last church I served in had specific services dedicated to this. Your Senior Pastor has a plan for the church, and this is a powerful opportunity to connect with this leader and vision for the church. There are several perks to this, but one of the most important ones is crossover.
Your students will hear this vision being cast in “big church,” your students’ parents will hear about this vision in Sunday School, and families will discuss this at their dinner tables. When we align our vision with the vision of the overall church it creates an environmental awareness to what God is doing with the church. You want this vision to surround your students’ lives because this is the vision God has given you for your ministry through prayer and connection with Him.
5. Highlight Needs and Struggles of YOUR Youth Ministry
If I google Youth Ministry Vision Goals, several articles pop up and suggest items to include in a "vision cast." Unfortunately, you didn't write these articles, well I guess there is a chance you did…someone had to. I'm trying to say that these articles do not address your specific needs and struggles within your ministry.
If you are looking for ways to create an impactful vision for your youth ministry, look no further than your email inbox. What are the things you hear about often? Are there certain topics and struggles which seem to come up in most of your conversations with parents and leaders? These can be powerful tools to help move your youth ministry in the right direction. Let us not look at our struggles as weaknesses but opportunities for God to shine. When we understand our shortcomings, we become Moses walking into the throne room of Pharaoh, understanding no weakness will stand in the way of what our God has planned.
6. Think Bigger than 2021
My older brother is a physical therapist, and often I come to him with specific issues or things to tweak within my muscles. He always addresses the hurt but follows up with ways to prevent this from happening in the future. He doesn't tell me it will happen, but he encourages me to look beyond this specific incident to prepare for the future.
2021 is going to be a different year. 2020 had a surprise pandemic for us, but 2021 looks bright. There is a chance vaccines are distributed, and we are on the other side of things by summer. There are a chance things will not return to a new normal till the fall. When we create a vision for 2021 or any year, let us begin thinking bigger. When a student steps out of your ministry after six or seven years, what do you want them to have learned? When students and leaders see the large vision, incredible vision, this is when they are inspired to move.
The great explorers of old didn’t promise the kings and queens a neat adventure was going to be had. They told those leaders they would be on the right side of history; their names would be remembered. We aren't in youth ministry for the glory because you might be on the wrong bus if you are. We are here to help change history, one student's eternity at a time. Thank you for reading, and thank you for serving.