With just a few days left in 2017, I’ve been thinking of the New Year’s resolutions that I want to work on in my own life in 2018. I want to spend more alone time with God every day. I want to write my friends and family more letters. I want to take time to explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains that I see every day on my drive to work.
I’m not sure how many New Year’s resolutions you’re allowed to have, but I could probably add a dozen more items to my list. However, the truth is that all of these resolutions are just good intentions at this point in the game.
Until I’m actively, intentionally blocking out time to study God’s Word, to sit down and write a letter, or to take a day to go to the mountains, I’m just someone with a lot of dreams of things I want to do “someday.”
When it comes to ministry, many of us can end up just being dreamers with a lot of good intentions, too. It’s easy to come up with a list of goals and benchmarks that you want your youth ministry to meet, but ask yourself, what steps are you intentionally taking to meet those goals and build a Gospel Advancing Ministry?
I was reading Greg Stier’s blog post on 7 New Year’s resolutions every youth leader should make and one in particular stuck out to me: 7. To program your true priorities.
Greg says, “Stop just saying that prayer and relational evangelism are true youth group priorities if you’re not programming them into your youth group meeting and calendar. Our ministry values are either true priorities or empty platitudes, depending on whether or not they get programmed.”
It takes time, effort, and sometimes discomfort to get out of our habits and routines, both in life and in ministry. But if we want to see real change and Kingdom impact in our youth groups, it’s time to take charge of our schedules and start programming our priorities.
It might look like baby steps at first—scheduling just five minutes into your weekly gathering for students to partner up and pray. But that simple change can be the start of a major culture shift in your youth group that will help your ministry’s New Year’s resolutions come to fruition.
To help you filter out the clutter that takes away from your ministry’s effectiveness, ask these three questions about every event, Bible study, or sermon idea that comes up:
- Gospel Urgency: What specific elements of this event will help inspire our students to keep intercessory prayer for their unreached friends and/or relational evangelism front and center?
- Gospel Fluency: What training or coaching do we need to incorporate into this event so that our students are better equipped to talk about Jesus and His gospel message with their friends who don’t know Him personally?
- Gospel Strategy: What practical application can we fold into this event that will challenge our teenagers to relationally advance the gospel in their circles of influence in the coming week?
Read more about “3 Questions to Help You Program Your Priorities” in your Gospel Advancing Ministry here. Or, download the free Dare 2 Share ebook “5 Ways to Make Evangelism a Bigger Priority Right Away” for more ideas.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to intentionally program the priorities you want to cultivate in your youth group. Ask God for wisdom as you map out goals and start filling in your ministry’s calendar. And whether it’s making time for prayer, planning outreach times, or going deeper in the Word with our students, let’s do our part to make our New Year’s resolutions go from good intentions to reality.