“What is a burrito?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well, then, what is a tostada?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well, then, what i-” “Look, it’s all the same XS@*!… Mexican food is great, but it is all the same, it’s almost a conspiracy. It’s almost like they had a meeting 200 years ago in Mexico City, and one guy stood up, and he was like, “Hey, the reason I got everyone here is pretty simple, I figured we could rename this one entree seven times, and sell it to the North Americans.”
—Comedian Jim Gaffigan
Try This! ❯
For a current benchmark on where you’re at with each of the seven values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry, take/retake D2S’s Gospel Advancing Diagnostic Assessment.
The full length version of this stand-up comedy routine is absolutely hilarious! But you’re probably wondering what Mexican food has to do with Gospel Advancing Ministry.
Well, in the same way that a lot of Mexican food is made from the same basic ingredients, every Gospel Advancing Ministry has seven basic ingredients that can be mixed together in a variety of different ways. From these ingredients, some will make a “taco” type youth ministry. Others will serve up a “burrito” or “tostada” type ministry. But they all incorporate seven ingredients—or values, if you will—as part of the recipe in some way and to one degree or another. As you mix these ingredients together in your own unique way with the gospel as the “kick,” they create a dynamic, spicy dish.
That’s one of the things we love about Gospel Advancing Ministry. You can do it in your own context, and creatively reflect your own tastes. There’s no one “right” recipe. You can freely experiment, borrow from other’s recipes, and creatively blend these seven basic ingredients together to reflect your own strategies, programs and resources for your unique setting.
What are these seven ingredients?
The Book of Acts: An Ingredients List for Gospel Advancement
The book of Acts drips with the relentless pursuit of the mission of Jesus! The explosive growth of the early church gives us clues and cues that can help us experience that same brand of spiritual and numeric growth in our ministries. If we want to learn how to grow our ministries, Acts, as well as the real world experiences of youth leaders on the front lines of ministry, point us toward seven critical ingredients for a Gospel Advancing Ministry:
- Intercessory prayer fuels it. “They all joined together constantly in prayer….” (Acts 1:14a).
- Relational evangelism drives it. “…When Priscilla and Aquila heard him [Apollos], they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26b).
- Leaders fully embrace and model it. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished…” (Acts 4:13a).
- A disciple multiplication strategy guides it. “But the word of God continued to spread and flourish” (Acts 12:24).
- A bold vision focuses it. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
- Biblical outcomes measure it. [Barnabas] “saw what the grace of God had done” (Acts 11:23a).
- Ongoing programs reflect it. “So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables…We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word’” (Acts 6:2, 4).
So how do you create a context in which these seven values are part of your recipe? You focus on one or two of these values at a time, so that you don’t get overwhelmed! In next week’s Mobilize, we’ll start unpacking ‘Value #1: Intercessory prayer fuels it’. We’ll begin exploring how to make prayer the engine of your ministry, and not the caboose.
Take/Retake the Gospel Advancing Diagnostic Assessment
But in the meantime, take (or retake) Dare 2 Share’s Gospel Advancing Diagnostic Assessment—either online or using the Gospel Advancing Ministry app. The diagnostic will give you a current benchmark on where you’re at with each of the seven values. If you’ve never take the diagnostic before, it will provide a great starting snapshot of your ministry’s current strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve taken it before, retaking it will give you a snapshot of how much progress you’ve made so far on your gospel advancing journey.
Advancing the gospel is about much, much more than simply getting your teenager sharing the gospel with their peers! These seven values are the essential building blocks God can use to form the foundation for Kingdom impact through you and your ministry.