“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”
All of us in youth ministry have rough days when we shake our heads and wonder… “Is it worth?”…“Am I making a difference?”…“Maybe I should get on Craig’s List and look for a different job.”
Try This! ❯
Designate an empty chair in your youth room as a reminder to pray for the unreached teenagers who need Jesus.
Whether it’s puke on the carpet, a fight in the parking lot or the latest chapter in your group’s drama queen/king saga, we’ve all been there. But just so we’re clear, that’s not what we’re about to talk about here.
While these frustrations are certainly real, often they are just that—frustrations—the inevitable results of the many challenges that come with the territory of working with teens who are frequently moody, immature, hurting, messed up or all of the above.
But sometimes our frustrations are more deeply rooted—they’re an indicator of a deeper issue that is making us feel unsettled and unfocused. Sometimes they may be flashing arrows pointing us to consider whether we’re on the right train, going the right direction. Because if we aren’t, then Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s wise words should give us pause: “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”
Gospel Advancement In and Through Your Teens
And what is the right direction for your youth ministry train? Jesus told all of us to “go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). We’re to be about His mission of advancing His Kingdom by making disciples who make disciples.
Here at Dare 2 Share we call it “Gospel Advancing Ministry,” which simply means that your youth ministry provides a context in which the good news of Jesus is moving both deeply into the souls of your Christian teenagers, and outwardly through your teenagers to others. Down deep, this is what student ministry should really be all about—keeping Jesus’ gospel of grace central to everything you’re doing.
So here’s a quick checklist of seven key indicators that can help you determine whether you’re on the right train, going the right direction. If you’re already doing these things, great! If you’re doing a few, but not all of them…then ask God which one or two you should focus on amping up next. And if you’re registering a big, fat “0,” then it could be an indication that you’re on the wrong train, headed the wrong direction. Maybe it’s time to switch trains and start building these seven values into your ministry approach.
A Gospel Advancing Checklist
Here’s the checklist:
✓Prayer is the engine and not the caboose of your ministry.
✓Relational evangelism is a priority for your students and they are equipped to effectively share their faith.
✓You and your adult leaders are united and on board with a Gospel Advancing approach to student ministry and are personally sharing the gospel.
✓You have a disciple multiplication strategy that equips your students to become disciples who make disciples.
✓You’ve established a bold Gospel Advancing vision, i.e., “Every student in our local high school(s) will have an opportunity to hear about Jesus’ message of grace from someone they know and trust.”
✓You’re seeing measurable biblical outcomes—both quantitative and qualitative, i.e., teens are coming to Christ and growing in Christ.
✓Your ongoing programs—weekly, monthly and annually—reflect a strategy for Advancing the Gospel.
Gospel advancement in and through your teenagers is the secret to effective and exciting ministry. Check out Dare 2 Share’s free “Gospel Advancing Ministry Best Practices” PDF for tons of practical ideas to help you build each of these seven core values into your ministry. (Re)discover the joy, excitement and transformation you’ve been longing to see—and that Jesus promised—by making the gospel advancement central to everything you do!