“Attempt something so great for God it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.”
Let me ask you a critical question… Do you have a bold vision for your youth ministry?
In other words, are you doing ministry on purpose? Are your efforts and activities strategically focused by a bold vision that drives transformative impact?
The Apostle Paul had a bold vision—to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Check out Romans 15:16, 20:
…to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit…It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation (NIV).
What Does a Bold Vision Look Like?
A bold vision is a longer range vision statement that drives all of your ministry efforts toward one BHAG (pronounced BEE-hag)—a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. Or if you want to Christianize it…a Big, Holy, Audacious Goal. It’s a vision that makes you super nervous, but get’s you up in the morning.
Now maybe you’re thinking that this all sounds too grandiose or theoretical. Well, let me give you a practical example of what this might look like in youth ministry. Here’s youth leader Bill Freund’s bold vision statement:
To give every high school and middle school student in Castle Rock, Colorado, the opportunity to hear, understand and respond to the gospel, through prayerfully training, inspiring, mobilizing and equipping students to engage their friends.
Does that sound audacious to you? Does it sound like something that would bring focus to your ministry efforts and would impact your calendar and programming?
Four Characteristics of a BOLD Vision
So let’s unpack a few of the key characteristics of a BOLD vision…
Beyond your personal capacity to achieve. It’s a goal so big that God has to show up! For example, Paul’s words in Colossians 1:29 demonstrate the centrality of Christ’s mighty power in accomplishing his vision: “That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me” (NLT).
Outcome (not activity) driven. In youth ministry, we frequently make the mistake of letting activities drive our focus—youth group meetings, Sunday school, retreats, camps, lock-ins and laser tag. But true, lasting, transformative impact is largely outcome driven. If we focus on outcomes—things like new believer baptisms, increased new conversion growth, student-led campus ministry, behavior changes in media habits, students involved in leadership—it will shape our programming and drive our calendars.
Leverages teenagers to lead the way. Teenagers have the greatest potential to influence their friends with the gospel. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to transition your role to that of a coach.
Driven by addition and multiplication. Getting your students to invite their friends out to youth group to “come and see” characterizes the “addition” of invitational evangelism. Mobilizing your students to personally make disciples who make disciples is “multiplication.” A bold vision prioritizes both!
Dare 2 Share’s BOLD Vision
At our Dare 2 Share (D2S) office in Colorado, the John Haggai quote noted at the top of this article is prominently displayed on our entrance wall. It greets us every day, reminding us of the BOLD vision God has placed on our hearts. What is our vision? To mobilize 30,000 youth leaders to inspire and equip students to share the gospel with every teenager in America.
We want to see students making disciples who make disciples. Because we want every teenager to hear the gospel from another teenager they know and trust.
We fully realize that this audacious goal is impossible, unless God is in it. We also acknowledge that we need others working alongside us. That’s why we’re so encouraged that thousands of youth leaders just like you and dozens of other great para-church ministries are at work helping young people become disciples who make disciples.
Why Do You Need a Bold Vision?
Because without it, you’re just doing stuff; your group will never be much more than a Christian social club. If all you’re trying to do is help your youth group teens get to know about Jesus, I would challenge you to prayerfully consider whether your vision is too small.
Finally, I encourage you to:
- Begin to dream, journal, spend time in prayer and write down ideas about your own BOLD vision for your ministry. You might also want to watch the free webinar Built for Boldness.
- Put a three hour prayer/vision building time slot on your calendar for two to three weeks from now…because in the next article, I’ll walk you through some ideas on what to do during your 3 hour vision building appointment with God.
- Sign your group up for a catalytic event like Dare 2 Share LIVE, which will give your students a chance to pray for the lost, share the gospel in the real world, and learn to live out their faith.
And remember, your vision reflects the size of the God you worship.