Colorado has 52 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. Every year a few tough, determined Coloradans set a goal to hike up all 52 peaks within a year’s time. Given the lack of oxygen, treacherous terrain and unexpected nature of the elements, one would have to be brave, crazy or both to try to accomplish such a feat. Some would say that climbing all 52 14’ers within a year is a bold vision. But is that really true? What really makes a vision bold? Is a bold vision just a crazy goal or is it something else?
Youth pastors are sometimes tasked with developing a vision or goal for their ministry. Several factors come into play when considering an appropriate vision. Funds, volunteers, time commitments and know-how often inform what the vision will look like. While some leaders develop a vision that stretches their own abilities, for many people, their key to drafting a good vision is developing something within the realm of possibility; that is, the vision can be accomplished through hard work and tapping the necessary resources. So here’s where the distinction between a vision and a bold vision becomes most obvious: A bold vision crosses the threshold of possible and moves into the realm of impossible.
Try This! ❯
Take time this week to be with the Holy Spirit. Ask God to fuel your youth group’s passion to reach the lost.
Unlike a typical vision, a Gospel Advancing Ministry’s bold vision has a level of scope that requires a dependence on the miraculous to accomplish its goals; a bold vision requires the power of the Holy Spirit. Not that a bold vision is flippantly outrageous, but it should prayerfully capture some level of daring to believe that God can use your group to do something beyond what’s humanly possible.
Put Things Off until Tomorrow
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” A wise saying that many of us live by. Yet, Jesus apparently had a different idea when He unfolded THE Cause (i.e., Great Commission) to His disciples. Scripture tells us that He told His disciples to wait (Acts 1:4). This is a radical statement considering Jesus had unfolded the greatest bold vision ever given to humanity (Matthew 28:19). You’d think Jesus would want them to get going. But Jesus knew something that we oftentimes struggle to understand: Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot accomplish gospel advancement (John 15:5). The disciples needed the Holy Spirit to fill and empower them to be able to advance the gospel, and so do we. As believers, we need to align ourselves with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to guide our efforts.
There’s a reason intercessory prayer is the #1 Value of a Gospel Advancing Ministry—because God is the only one who can open hearts, change minds and draw a soul into relationship with Him. As you work toward accomplishing your bold vision (or if you are building it out for the first time), remember that your success is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. This can cause anxiety for type A, control-loving youth leaders because it is hard to relinquish control. But the truth is that tapping into His power as you work toward your vision will actually lighten your load and increase your impact.
Take time to model your dependence on the Spirit during your messages. Help your students understand that God is ultimately in control—not you. Then they will start to see God as someone who is actively involved in the here and now.
Refuel with Power from Above
Being a youth leader myself, I go through moments where I’m running on empty. While I’d like to always be excited about youth group, there are just days when it feels like a chore. I’m not OK with feeling this way, but I understand that it can be a struggle. Being pulled in all sorts of directions can wear anyone thin, after all. Sometimes we try to amp ourselves up by listening to our favorite preacher or worship song. And while it can give a temporary spurt of energy, it is nothing like the power of the Holy Spirit. We have to learn to take care of ourselves, and the best possible way to do that is by spending time with the Holy Spirit.
When we plug into the power of the Holy Spirit, God can do amazing things in and through us! Click To Tweet
Time with the Spirit fuels us to do God’s work and engage in evangelism. In the book of John, Jesus said, “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry” (John 15:26-27). As the Spirit ministers to us about Jesus, we become encouraged to minister to others. He shares our gospel advancing vision! When we fail to testify about Jesus to those He has put in our path, we are, as Greg Stier says, “quenching the Spirit and dousing the flame” (Check out Gospelize Your Youth Ministry for more youth ministry insights from Greg).
Take time this week to be with the Holy Spirit. Ask God to fuel your flame so that you can live out His evangelistic, bold vision to reach the world for Christ, starting in your own youth ministry. We need His strength to accomplish our bold vision!