I love reading blogs… I love reading youth ministry books… I love listening to incredible youth ministry speakers… I love networking with other youth workers… Bottom line, I love these things because I love to learn how to do ministry more effectively, and discovering new ways of doing ministry! But here is the problem we all face these days:
With a greater access conferences, books, and resources, (and so much information to digest), it can be easy to stop thinking and praying through what works best within our own ministry contexts.
Before we begin to implement the newest idea or the ministry philosophy that has worked somewhere else, it’s imperative that we take important steps to ensure that new ideas and philosophies will actually work in our ministry contexts. In my last three positions, I have found that no ‘one size fits all’ approach works. In fact, I have had three different approaches for the last three churches…
Here’s what does work however:
1) Seek God’s guidance for your specific ministry. (Do we really spend days and weeks seeking God when it comes to implementing ideas and programs)?
2) Spend your first year listening and understanding the people, the community, and the church. (Just because we are the paid person with the expertise does not mean that God does not want to speak through the people).
3) Involve students, leaders, and parents in the idea and implementation phase, don’t create a leadership vacuum. (Involvement = ownership. The best ideas are always owned by the people)
4) Consider YOUR context. (I know this should be a given, but so often we seem to take an ‘experts’ viewpoint and not consider if they understand our context).
5) Consider THEIR context. When you read a book or a blog, or listen to a speaker, try your best to understand their context. (This will help you grasp whether or not it’s viable in your ministry context).
I know this might seem like leadership 101, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen friends in ministry get burned by poor ideas that were always doomed to fail. I have made the same mistake too! What works in one context does not always transfer to our ministry.
As you learn new ministry ideas and philosophies, make sure you take time to look through the lens of your context before you begin to implement…