The Best Kind of Vision?

Do you ever have those moments when you daydream and think about what could happen if your ministry were to have all the right ingredients to see incredible life change and transformation? Do ever wonder what that could look like? Do you ever wonder how that happens? If you are like me, I can spend hours thinking about and planning ways to create a dynamic ministry… It’s easy to spend a lot of time (and energy) trying figure out how to “make it work”…

However, the more time I spend in student ministry, I don’t think it is as complex as we might think… I think the answer is not just kept to certain people or churches… I think we all can look forward to seeing ministries with transformation and life change as a regular occurrence. So how does this happen (or start to happen)? Well, first, let’s confirm that it all centers around Jesus and that should a solid foundation for every ministry. But, the question is, how can you and I be used to effectively build Jesus centered ministries..? Well, here’s what I have been challenged by recently… wait for it… I think it starts with vision… But maybe not the same kind of vision that you and I often hear about in church circles. Hang in with me for a few minutes and let me explain…

You can’t be in Student Ministry for too long before you start hearing about and begin to talk about vision. So many churches and ministries have developed well crafted vision statements and we often hear phrases like, “what is the vision for this ministry”? If you are like me there have been times when we spend months working on carefully crafting vision statements to make sure the vision is clear… When things are going well we might expect to hear, “this place has a great vision”… When things are going badly we might expect to hear, “the vision has died” or “there is no vision here”. Do you know what I mean?Here’s what I see with ministries struggling with vision:

Unplanned Ministries: Ministries will often just jump into “what we have always done” rather than stopping to consider their natural uniqueness and the needs of their current students and community.

Side-tracked Ministries: Ministries get side-tracked with too many programs or events and the vision leaks. There are so many competing issues, programs and agendas that the vision becomes distorted…

Ministry Clones: Sometimes it’s hard to see our unique ministry gifting and how we can use that gifting.  Instead we become a clone of another successful ministry. We often jump into the latest ministry model or use others successful vision statements…

So, where am I going with all this? Well, whether your ministry is struggling to discover and enact a clear vision or whether your ministry is knocking the ball out of the park with vision clarity… I wonder if there is a more compelling vision to search for? You see, I think it is healthy to seek clarity and vision for our ministries and I will always seek this for where I am. However, what could happen if we sought out a different kind of vision with the same or greater passion and intentionality?

What if we were to help students PERSONALLY find God’s VISION for THEIR lives?

Unplanned Lives: You see, just like our ministries, so many of our students are just going through the motions and not even considering the incredible vision and plan God has for their lives. They appear to be just going through the motions and unaware that God could use them for amazing purposes…

Side-tracked Lives: And what about our busy students who have learned to take every opportunity that comes there way, yet there lives are defined by constant pressure and stress… Clarity cannot possibly be in view… Instead they live in constant detour mode as they take every path except God’s best for them…

Cloned Lives: So many students simply try to clone themselves and try to be like the the next “successful kid” in their class. As they try to clone themselves they are left wanting more… feeling somehow that what they achieve and discover is not enough.

The Challenge: What could our ministries look like if we were to use our time, talent and resources to work with our leaders and students to discover PERSONAL VISION? What would our students start to do when they discover and embrace their uniqueness? What would happen if we spent LESS time invested in corporate vision statements and spent more time helping students find clarity in God’s vision for them?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that vision is imperative in our ministries and I believe that we cannot do ministry without having a clear picture of what could and should be. However, I believe that we are sometimes guilty of making this more about a vision statement and programs than we have made it about students and their individual lives… do you know what I mean? Yes, we are responsible to churches and ministry executives and we need to craft a compelling vision and plan… But, how much of our energy do we spend doing this for students in comparison? Are we so focused on the programs and structures that we miss God’s vision for these students individually?

Just asking…

Phil <><

3 Responses to The Best Kind of Vision?

  1. Brandon December 20, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    Great post and I’m glad to see it on the top posts of 2011! Cheers!

    • youthworktalk December 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks Brandon. I wonder if anyone noticed it was from 2010? Whether or not, it’s nice to know my posts are helpful!

      Phil <


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