Bobby was puzzled with the odd messages left on his voice mail. Friends and family would talk and then say, “Beep.” He discovered the reason for the joke when he finally listened to his greeting.
“Hi,” it said, “I’m not in right now, so please leave a beep after your message.”
Having the right marching orders is important in life, and it’s especially important when leading a youth ministry. That’s why identifying the big, over-arching vision for your ministry is so essential—in fact, it changes everything. Without a specific, articulated vision that can help you stay focused on what’s really important, you run the risk of “doing, doing, doing” activities, without seeing much actual “transformation” in the lives of students. That’s why all Gospel Advancing Ministries need a bold vision!
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Assess whether your current vision for your youth ministry is big enough and bold enough.
So how can you build a bold vision for your ministry that strives for transformation, growth and gospel advancement? Here are five simple steps.
1. Start with prayer
The great preacher and theologian Charles Spurgeon once said, “The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings.” There is a reason why Dare 2 Share placed intercessory prayer as the first value of the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Prayer is the fuel for successful ministries and the first and most important step in identifying your bold vision.
2. Put Gospel Advancement front and center
All ministries must live out THE Cause of Christ. Jesus chose to use His Bride—the church—as His primary means of advancing His gospel. An apathetic heart toward the lost is an epidemic that even the most theologically sound churches face these days. But if we are to honor Christ in His cause of rescuing the lost, then our bold vision must be Gospel Advancing.
3. Don’t play the Lone Ranger
One of the beautiful aspects of being a part of the church is having a community of believers who can help guide and support you. The book of Galatians offers a great reminder when it says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (6:2). God has called His church to help each other accomplish His kingdom work here on earth. A bold vision is about advancing God’s kingdom, so it should come as no surprise that others need to be involved in the process of both identifying it and accomplishing it. Too often people look to the pastors and church leaders as the only ones who can accomplish kingdom work. Help your youth leaders (both adults and students) see that they have a critical role to play. Invite them into your initial groundwork of identifying your ministry’s bold vision. After all, the entire youth group will be working together toward accomplishing the ministry’s bold vision, right along with you.God has called His church to help each other accomplish His kingdom work here on earth. Click To Tweet
4. Dream big
Scripture is riddled with stories of God using a weak, unlikely hero to accomplish something completely improbable. Take Esther, who as a young girl was able to save her people from mass genocide. Whether your ministry is big or small, God wants each of us to dream big. This is why here at Dare 2 Share we challenge youth leaders to reach for a bold vision. It ought to push the envelope and be something that can only reasonably happen if God shows up. That will keep you on your knees, because God can take your improbable vision and make it possible!
5. Stay grounded in reality
Maybe you think this sounds like a contradiction to Step #4: Dream big. While God is capable of making the improbable possible, that doesn’t give you a blank check to write out whatever you want as your bold vision. There are natural laws that come into play. For instance, making it a goal to engage in 2000 gospel conversations in the next year is a great goal, but it might be an unrealistic goal if you live in a small, rural town where there are only 200 students in the high school. So be optimistic, but keep your bold vision grounded in reality.
Coming up with a bold vision can be an intimidating task. It is no surprise that many youth leaders struggle with writing a bold vision. But if we want to see the gospel advancing, then we must push on. Still, you don’t have to do it alone. Consider coming to a D2S One Day Training, where you’ll be able to rub shoulders with both Dare 2 Share staff and other local youth leaders. If you can’t make it to a One Day Training, consider connecting with one of our D2S Certified Trainers for some coaching.
Ultimately, your bold vision is your best effort to identify your part in advancing God’s kingdom through your ministry. It provides you with your marching orders!