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Pursuing (And Celebrating) Youth Ministry Wins

Pursuing (And Celebrating) Youth Ministry Wins

I lead a workshop recently at a youth ministry conference where we talked about the idea of youth ministry wins. We all agreed, after a lot of debate (OK, not really), that wins are better than losses! After all, when you think about huge sporting wins, the camera rarely spends any time on the loser's response. It's all about the winning team rushing the field or the court.

I want youth workers to know this feeling with it comes to their youth ministries. But winning doesn't happen by accident. It takes intentionality.

And so we discussed what goes into a win, from a big-picture standpoint, and then drilled down into one specific area. I want to share some of my thoughts with you, so maybe you can apply these in your own ministry. Think about what goes into a win:
First, the win has to be defined.

In most sports, it’s score more points than your opponents. Golf is weird and so you try to score fewer points. But there are other categories of wins besides sports. You might define a parenting win as getting your kids to pick up their clothes without being asked. Defining a youth ministry win may be something as simple as "a successful weekend retreat," or "a parent meeting with 50% attendance." Or maybe you want to see measurable spiritual growth in a specific student. These are all examples of defining your wins.

The point is to intentionally define your win. The old adage is true: "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit your mark."
Then, you have to plan/prepare.

In football, coaches have their game plan, and the practice in order to be prepared to win. If your win is defined as getting a raise, you prepare a proposal to your supervisor. If you’re in the doghouse with your spouse, your "win" may be to get out! And your plan may include an apology, a note, and/or a special gift. If your "win" is defined as a successful outreach event, you may tailor your content and strategy to focus on drawing "X" % of visitors. This is the planning stage. (And consequently, this seems to be were most people fail.
Next, you have to execute!

This is game day! This is you actually doing the work to make your plan a reality.
Don't forget about overcoming adversity!

There will always be variables that pop up that test your ability to execute your plan. The van breaks down. There is a choir concert schedules two weeks before your event that no one told you about. You get sick the morning of your big outreach event. These are the rule, not the exceptions! You will almost always have to overcome adversity. Rarely will everything go exactly as planned. If you want to win, you have to be able to adapt and overcome.
Finally, don't ever forget the importance of celebrating a win.

Think about the teams that win the big games. They go nuts! They celebrate. Too often, we're so busy or exhausted, we forget to come back around and celebrate our wins. This becomes increasingly important the more people you have on your team helping you. If you consistently fail to celebrate your wins, you'll burn your people out. People want to know they are a part of something big and exciting. Make sure you plan time to celebrate the wins with your team.

Hopefully you can take this and apply it to your own youth ministry. Here's to more wins in your future.

About The Author

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks

Andy Blanks is the Publisher and Co-Founder of YM360 and Iron Hill Press. A former Marine, Andy has spent the last 17 years working in youth ministry, mostly in the field of publishing. During that time, Andy has led the development of some of the most-used Bible study curriculum and discipleship resources in the country. He has authored numerous books, Bible studies, and articles, and regularly speaks at events and conferences, both for adults and teenagers. Andy and his wife, Brendt, were married in 2000. They have four children: three girls and one boy.