Zig Ziglar said: “Don’t count the things you do; do the things that count.”
In general, not bad advice. But when you’re a Gospel Advancing leader, it can help to both “do” and “count,” because both can help you celebrate growth toward your bold vision and ultimately expand the Kingdom of God!
Counting the Things You Do
As youth pastors, we’re always counting something—how many kids got sick on the retreat, how many students are crushing on another student (the number can change by the hour!), how many volunteers bailed just before the lock-in…
So, the question isn’t so much whether or not we measure, but what we measure. What outcomes does God want us to strive for? In the book of Acts, we clearly see that new believers are one of those outcomes:
“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41
However, this measurement usually depends on the measurement of other activities—namely praying for, caring for, and sharing the Gospel with people who haven’t yet trusted Christ.
For help in quantifying these activities, try these best practices from other youth leaders, or use the Life in 6 Words app group feature to measure the number of times students and leaders are praying for, caring for, and sharing the Gospel with those who aren’t Christians. Also, consider any additional measurements that will lead you to achieve your group’s bold vision—one that will help you reach the teens in your community with the Good News.
Doing the Things That Count
Do your programs reflect your ministry’s bold vision and the Gospel Advancing values? If you aren’t sure, take this survey to track your progress. Think of your bold vision like an ice cream cone: It’s kind of dry and tasteless without the creamy, delicious ice cream inside, helping that cone fulfill its mission! Likewise, your bold vision isn’t very good on its own, without the yummy ingredients of your programs filling it up to accomplish your Kingdom goals.
Take a look at the “filling” of your typical ministry calendar. Are all the weekly events geared toward helping you accomplish your bold vision? What about the monthly, quarterly, and even yearly events? Those beloved retreats might need to be cut if they take up too much of your energy without pushing you toward your bold vision. However, in many cases your programs just need to be modified. For example, creating a space for a 10-minute prayer time might mean your message time is shorter.
Having the courage to tweak your programs to make them Gospel Advancing may be the missing ingredient you need if you’re going to “do the things that count”!