It’s one thing to charge forward as a single individual—just you and God—in pursuit of your bold vision for your youth ministry. It’s something else entirely to bring your key leaders on-board as you seek to incorporate your vision statement into your youth ministry’s philosophy, plans and programs. It requires a special spiritual mix of being both the visionary God has called you to be as the Youth Leader, but also the caring, nurturing Shepherd Discipler who lovingly guides and cares for those God has placed under your leadership.
Multiply Your Impact
If you can successfully bring your leadership team on-board with your vision statement, the transformative impact of your ministry will be greatly enhanced. This is just simple math. The more leaders you have actively engaged with the vision, the more its impact will multiply.
But as I like to say, “The way to the head is through the ribcage.” Lasting, transformative change rarely happens unless God gets a hold of our hearts. That’s why engaging your key influencers on a heart level is so critically important—both in terms of their heart for God AND their heart for teenagers. The power of story is very helpful here, so if you have a specific story of a teen’s life that’s been transformed by the power of the gospel and the impact of an effective youth ministry, consider sharing it with your team. It will help pave the way for real engagement.
Vision Casting Principles
Your own distinctive mix of spiritual gifting, leadership style and relational equity with your youth ministry leadership team will significantly influence the approach you’ll want to take for getting your key leaders on board. But here are a few general principles you’ll want to consider as you develop your own unique plan for sharing your vision statement with your key influencers.
- Pray, pray, pray. Ask God to guide, soften hearts and unify your group.
- Start with a few.
- Communicate why you need a vision statement.
- Walk people through your process for discerning this vision. Share specific verses and how God used them to get your attention.
- Make room for questions, comments and concerns.
- Identify an ongoing means for consistently meeting with your core group so that together you can pray for your youth and get a deeper, fuller understanding of what God wants to do in and through your ministry.
How Do You Go About This?
Of course, there are a hundred different ways to do this well. But let’s walk through a specific example of how this process might unfold.
- Prayerfully select the top two or three adult and student leaders (for a total of four to six individuals)
- Invite your core group of ministry leaders over for dinner, so you can discuss your vision statement.
- To make the most of your time together, consider sending out an email a few days ahead of the dinner that includes your current draft of your vision statement and a brief description of the process God used to lay it on your heart. Ask your team to bring any questions, comments or concerns they might have to your gathering.
- Open your discussion over your meal with an icebreaker questions that will propel your conversation deeper. For example, you might ask each person to respond to the question: Why are you involved as a leader in student ministry? What was the catalyst and motivation that caused you to step up to leadership?
- Share your own personal response to that question. This is where the power of your own personal story of your journey into youth ministry can help you reach their heart for God AND their heart for teenagers. This is also a great opportunity to share an experience where you’ve been deeply impacted by a time you saw the power of the gospel change a teen’s life for all eternity.
- Share in greater detail why you think your youth ministry needs a vision statement and relate on a more personal level the process God took you through as you prayed and reflected about what it should be. Explain why your vision is so big that God has to show up in order for it to be accomplished! Communicate that you’ve met with the Senior Pastor about this. Invite questions and comments. Discuss any concerns the might have.
- Together, begin some initial brainstorming about what it might look like to begin to implement this new guiding focus across the next few months.
- Explore the possibility of meeting as a leadership team more frequently while you are making shifts in your focus so you can pray, learn and plan together—if possible, offer to provide childcare and food for each gathering. The team might read a book together that would help motivate and equip you toward accomplishing your vision. Some good options might be: 4 Chair Discipling by Dann Spader, the book of Acts or As You Go by Alvin Reid. Consider bringing your group to a catalytic training event like the Fearless Tour or Lead THE Cause to turbo-charge your efforts.
You’ll need to continually cast and recast the vision with your key influencers—both adults and students. In the weeks and months ahead, you want your vision statement to serve as the “North Star” that guides all your team’s ministry efforts.