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Partnering In Ministry

Jeremy Smith —  February 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

Last night, I had the opportunity go before a group of Young Life leaders in the local Colorado Springs area to talk about how we could partner together to reach every student for Christ. In the few minutes that I had, I shared my deep passion for working with these military teens, the crisis these teens face constantly, and how the Young Life leaders could assist. The pitch was simple, I want them to find out which teens were apart of a military family and if they had to have military-specific conversations with them, to call me if they needed help.

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People measure success in many different ways. In fact, if you do youth ministry, you know all of the different people that have buy-in to it. You, the students, your volunteers, the parents of the students, your senior pastor, the deacons, the congregation, other youth ministries you work with, and more. Each of those people may have a different way of measuring success. And while many think that numbers are evil, you need to be able to actually be able to measure if you are succeeding. Attendance numbers are easily measurable, but that does not quantify real discipleship.

I do want to be clear about one thing. Measuring success is not comparing your ministry to others. They have their ministry that serves that part of the community. If we start to compare ourselves, we begin measuring their goals to our ministry and that always makes someone look bad. Separate your ministry from them and recognize God’s blessing on your specific ministry.

  1. God’s View Of Greatness.
    God’s view of greatness is not what the world would call success. Look at Matthew 5 and see how He wants you to success in life and ministry.

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    Matthew 5:3-12

  2. Ensure Everyone Is On The Same Page.
    Find out who has important buy-in to your ministry and include them in on the process of measuring success. Maybe the senior pastor helps you decide what the goals of ministry should be this year. The volunteers are shared with the goals and how they will be incorporated into the plan to success. And the parents hear a monthly or quarterly update on how those goals are being fulfilled. The most important part of this is communication.
  3. Constantly Evaluate How It Is Going.
    This means that we have quantifiable goals that I can achieve, meet ten new friends of students currently attending or have volunteers run 25% more of youth group. We do not have control of who gets saved or even comes to events and so those would be bad goals. Our goals are year-long at USAFA Club Beyond and every quarter we look at the progress. If things are way off, we are just killing it or not doing as well as possible, we look at why. Maybe our goals were unrealistic or we didn’t (and couldn’t) see tough barriers. So we readjust those goals into new twelve month goals. Because we are constantly tweaking and reevaluating the goals, we never actually reach them, but are always growing and improving.

So what would you count as success? What are your goals?

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This year we had several new volunteers sign up to serve with us at USAFA Club Beyond. We had an extensive six hour volunteer training, follow-up one on one meetings, a mock youth group to show them how we see it run, and even ran the first meeting to show them how it really goes. Then the test came to let them run youth group by themselves and it was a huge success (in fact, they did much better than I could have). Yet, I was there in case something happened and it all came crashing down.

But what happens when you leave the state for something? That is the real test, no safety net and complete trust in your volunteers that ministry will continue on in your absence. Mistakes will happen, but ministry will continue. The hope is that my volunteers will be even more empowered by this time directly with students.

Trusting Your Volunteers
So what happens when they know that I trust with the ministry?

  1. They can fully use the gifts that God has given them.
  2. You promote longevity with volunteers who are capable of running ministry while you are gone.
  3. They gain the flexibility to run ministry the way they are most comfortable, which could reach new students in new ways.
  4. Self-directed people will be more inclined to volunteer more and maybe even branch out into new avenues of your ministry.
  5. You will free yourself from the stress of micro-managing the ministry.
  6. You will learn to trust God to provide the people resources needed to accomplish his dream for the children in your church.
  7. They will have deep ownership in the lives of the students they are serving.

For those that may see this idea of letting go of control as crazy, I would ask how this ministry would survive the next time you have to leave town, or worse leave ministry? Allow volunteers to be a huge face of the ministry and provide other means for students to hear the Gospel.

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Defining The Ministry

Jeremy Smith —  October 11, 2011 — Leave a comment

This weekend, we have our first volunteer training for the USAFA Club Beyond year. With the beginning of the school year, we have new volunteers, new programs, and restructuring some of the program. Because of all of this change, we need to clearly define the different aspects of the programs for everyone involved. So below is how we have defined the ministry for the volunteers.

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