And one of the most important places we see intentionality come in to play is in how we evaluate our ministries.
What if you took everything you do in your youth ministry in a given year (and I do mean everything: every event, every small group class, every service project, every activity . . . EVERYTHING), listed it on a dry-erase board, and went activity by activity asking one simple question: Is this the most effective thing I can do to help my students grow in their knowledge of Christ and apply this knowledge in the living out of their lives?
My hunch is that you might be left with some questions. Aren't we guilty of sometimes doing things because that's the way we've always done them? We support so much of what we do with the wrong kind of arguments:
"I did it in my old ministry and it worked great."
"The church up the road is doing it and their ministry is huge!"
"The parents/students/pastor expect me to do it."
But what if you measured everything you did by its effectiveness at helping grow teenagers into disciples? What if you were so intentional about your ministry that you did nothing that wasn't perfectly in line with your call to lead students to be followers of Christ? What if you asked the following questions:
- Is my big Wednesday night event the most effective way for me to use this time to help teenagers develop into disciples of Christ?
- Is my small group time, in its current structure and make-up the most effective way for me to do Bible study to help teenagers develop into disciples of Christ?
- Is the way I recruit and train and incorporate volunteers the most effective way for me to use adults to help teenagers develop into disciples of Christ?
If we're not asking these questions, we run the risk of having ministries that, at best, miss opportunities to disciple teenagers and, at worst, serve only as entertainment.
Intentionality is key. How intentional are you in what you do?