Have you ever taken the time to think about why you are doing what you are doing? What is the First Third Ministry you are engaging with? What do you do and why?
Often in congregations the ministry we pick up is because someone else put it down and we got to pick it up.. It is based on what has always been done or what our experience of particularly Youth Ministry is. Yet if we are not clear about what we are trying to achieve we can end up in places that are not really where we hoped to end up.
I was reading an article this week where the mission was to see the young people grow their relationship with Jesus. This is a great mission goal to have but it makes no mention of the young person relationship to the church, is it surprising then when their relationship with God is great but maybe not so great with the congregation?
In other groups the priority is about providing a safe places for young people to gather. Again a great important part of ministry, yet with this as the key focus, the relational work can loose it ‘s purpose which was to try and have the young people experience the grace and love of God through the group.
It is really great to take time to think through deeply what you are hoping to achieve and how it all fits together. Sometimes when things are not working it is because we have lost sight of what was the true priority in the first place.
When we focus on what we are trying to achieve rather than just what we are doing we become free to visit the question again. Is this the best way to achieve this or are we mission something? Is what we are doing ringing true to what we were hoping to achieve. The reality is culture is changing rapidly, young people grow and grow up quite quickly and what worked before might not work now.
With a common vision and clear hopes we are also more likely to see results because you plan around what you hoped. If you want to have young people from the community as part of your group you need to think through how will they know about it? Why will they come? How will we connect them in?
If you want young people to be better connected to the congregation you need to think through how can we make this happen, how do we make this more accessible for them? How do we help the congregation to enter into their world and reflect that in who the congregation is as a whole.
Over the past year I have been working with the Growth fund and we have designed a planning tool for new ministry. It is amazing to see how having clear intentions actually helps you to achieve your goals. but we know this isn’t all.
This weekend the reading was about Jesus and the disciples back at their nets and not being able to catch anything. It is only through the entry of Jesus and the Spirit of God that all their good intentions actually filled the nets. But they still had to have their nets, be on the lake, together in a boat, to bring that fish to shore.
What is it that God is calling you to with those in the first third of life? What do you need to do to get there? Who do you need to have as part of it and who else could help.
Maybe some of the work you have been doing has gone amazingly well and you would love to expand it to the next level. The Growth Fund is looking for expressions of interest around growing ministry in new and innovative ways.
If this is you and your congregation why not check out the details..
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.