Ownership…

Last week I talked about “Listening” as being a key to healthy and successful ministry. This week I want to looked at an area of youth ministry which should be a given, but I often feel is greatly overlooked: Ownership…

Ever hear leaders say, “Sometimes it is easier to do it yourself”? In student ministry, I think it is ALWAYS easier to do it yourself. And as leaders of ministries, that is often exactly what we do don’t we? Things get done, events get planned, programs run smoothly… But is that a good thing?

While we might be running an organized and well executed ministry, I think it is better to run a ministry that has potential to have, “holes all over the place” if it means we are giving students ownership of what is happening. In the short-term it can be messy, but in the long-term, there is a greater reward for the students we minister to…

1) Students Belong: The greatest need I see in every student  is the sense that they belong somewhere or to something. Giving them a sense of ownership and walking alongside them builds confidence, allows them to learn in safe way, and most of all, they feel like they belong. If students don’t feel the sense of ownership through belonging, I have seen that one or two things can happen. First, they might not stick around… Second, they will quickly become spectators instead of owners. Spectators can often turn into critics…

2) Students Become Long-Term Leaders: I am convinced that the likelihood of students being committed to a church (and having a strong faith), after high school is hugely dependent on how they learn to lead while they are in our ministries. It is imperative that they not only discover their gifts, but they are able to put them into action in a safe environment of a student ministry. More than that, it is imperative that students find avenues to lead and contribute to the overall church and minister alongside all kinds of people. If however, students only ever serve within a student ministry, is it any wonder that the transition from high school into ‘regular church’ is tough? Therefore, it’s important that students lead and serve in our ministries as well as with people in ‘big church’ that they might not normally come into contact with…

3) Ownership Builds Numerical Growth: I will never forget reading about Billy Graham’s incredible ability to predict the turn out of one of his huge gatherings back in the 80’s. People were amazed at how he could accurately predict how many people would come to an event. When asked how he could know, (thinking that maybe God had spoken to him personally), he shared his simple formula: First, he  found out how many people were involved with the planning and production of the event. Second, he would multiply that number by a figure he had come up with through years of observing attendance. The greater the people involved, the greater the number attending. In other words, the greater the number having ownership, the greater of people who will come…

Note: While numerical growth is not the goal, it certainly will become the fruit of having a healthy ministry that builds ownership into it’s DNA.

Therefore, not only is ownership crucial for helping students to belong and become, they are also used to build the ministry they are in… The hope is that new students would plug in and find faith and the same sense of ownership.

My next step is to ‘steal’ a series idea from Josh Griffin (morethandodgeball.com), where he has students lead a whole message series called, “You Own the Weekend”. This is a great way to build ownership for students. Check out Josh’s blog for how he does this…

Phil <><

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