I was both moved and challenged a month ago when I read a blog by Greg Stier discussing the idea of Youth Pastor networks that work together to advance THE Cause in their cities. We are in the very early stages of forming a strategic, Cause-driven Youth Pastor’s network in our city.
There are a few networks that already exist but their purposes, as I have experienced, are more for fellowship and encouragement than they are for partnering in THE Cause of Christ. I don’t have a big problem with fellowship focused networks. In fact, as I have met with those networks and gotten to know some of those Youth Leaders I very much admire their passion for Student Ministry and their love for God and teenagers. But my hope is that even stronger fellowship and encouragement will grow out of this new network as a result of our partnering together to accomplish our mission.
We kicked things off a few months ago over lunch when four youth pastors from two churches who all share the passion of students reaching students with the Gospel of Jesus Christ started meeting. We are praying and hoping that God will bring us more churches and youth pastors who desire to work toward this common goal. We began brainstorming and capturing ideas of how we would go about reaching the teens in our city. Josh Little, the Student Ministry Pastor of First Christian Church here in Johnson City, came up with this first idea that I want to share with you.
Networking Idea #1: Create a network map of your city. This idea is simple to do but it blew my mind when I considered the long-term implications of us effectively using this map to accomplish our mission. Take a map of your city and draw zones on it indicating the communities/neighborhoods each church will be responsible for. As you implement evangelism and outreach ideas in your Student Ministry focus your efforts in your particular zone on the map. Part of the network meeting becomes sharing stories of what you are doing in your zones, discussing ideas everyone can use in their areas, and even holding each other accountable to getting the job done in those zones. It’s simple to draw on a map and revolutionary in advancing THE Cause if it’s actually followed through with.
As we continue to work things out as a network, my hope is to continue to share stories and ideas of our journey together. We would also be encouraged and challenged to hear your stories and ideas that you are implementing in your network, or even as a church, to advance THE Cause in your city.
Have you created a similar map of your city? How are you partnering together with other youth pastors to reach every student in your area? What are you doing as a network to advance THE Cause of Christ in your city?