Keeping a pulse on the success and health of your ministry is important. But sometimes the fruit is less than you’d hoped and prayed for.
This happens to all ministries big or small. You implement a discipleship strategy and come up with evangelistic goals, yet the ministry doesn’t achieve what you set out for. This can be extremely discouraging. So what do you do in a situation like this?
If you aren’t producing the biblical outcomes that you expected, chances are you might need to adjust. While adjusting goals or strategies looks like painting the target on the wall after you’ve shot the arrow, adjusting is more about learning the do’s and don’ts within your ministry. Each year your ministry will be a little different, and your efforts will always need to be tweaked.
Still, knowing when to adjust can be difficult because there is a difference between pushing through the difficult moments in life and being wise enough to know that things need to be adjusted. So here are three signs you may need to recalibrate.
Try This! ❯
The ability to explain the gospel is a biblical outcome. Can your students do it? This week, ask several of your students to give you a one minute summary of the message of the gospel.
1. Students aren’t sharing the gospel
Do a quick assessment with a few of your students. Ask them to give you a one minute summary of the message of the gospel. Can they do it? If not, perhaps more GOSPEL training is needed? Or maybe the issue is motivation? Apathy is always a pain point in ministry. When students don’t care about the gospel, it can be demoralizing and totally derail your effort to become gospel advancing. Perhaps it’s time to take a group of your students to an inspirational evangelism training event, like Dare 2 Share’s Unshakeable student conference or Dare 2 Share Live. Remember that it only takes 10% of a group to begin to turn the tide of apathy!
In my own youth ministry, we identified 20 questions to help us better understand what our students were thinking. On the survey, we asked if students knew why Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross and how to share the gospel. To our surprise, students indicated that they understood why Jesus died, but did not know how to share the gospel. We realized that we needed to bridge the gap by going through the Life in 6 Words curriculum and teaching the GOSPEL acrostic.
2. The Holy Spirit is bringing about conviction
When Jesus was sharing His last meal with His disciples just hours before His betrayal, He began to tell them that His time was coming to an end. They could not comprehend their beloved Rabbi foreshadowing His death. Nonetheless, Jesus says some comforting words: “I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:25-26). God has given you a paraklētos or “advocate” to guide you as you lead your ministry. If you are feeling convicted about something within your ministry, then take the time to pray and listen to the counselor who will help guide you in making the right decisions for the health and success of your ministry.
3. Ministry is not growing in service, evangelism or faith in Christ
People are naturally resistant toward change. If you are implementing the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry for the first time, chances are it will shake up the youth ministry culture. There will almost always be students, volunteers, parents or even staff members who may resist the gospel-advancing change you are trying to bring. But while a ministry might suffer some loss, these values should really inspire greater growth in service, evangelism and faith in Christ. If you have been working away but do not see any fruit from your ministry’s labor, it’s time to think of some new strategies. That is, keep the ministry philosophy—it’s biblical—but figure out ways to better position growth. For example, you could create excitement by signing up a portion of your students (and adults) for Lead THE Cause. These events can help infuse the DNA of gospel-advancement into your ministry. After all, no one wants to go up against the grain alone.
Remember, biblical outcomes measure the effectiveness of a ministry, but you still have to do the hard work. It takes time to build a Gospel Advancing Ministry. As Greg always says, gospel-advancement is not a sprint to the finish, but a marathon. And really, it’s a marathon that lasts a lifetime.
Youth ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. Click To Tweet