youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, align your ministry

Aligning Your Ministry

By Doug Franklin April 24, 2012

Most of us when we started our youth ministry jobs thought about loving students and leading them to Christ. Good stuff by the way. What we didn’t think about was our own leadership and how we were going to enjoy serving in the church. We didn’t think about the kind of church structure we needed or about how we would be mentored by our leaders. We just wanted to serve students. Well, some time has passed and we have come to learn that serving students is great but if you’re in the wrong job or the wrong church your life can be miserable. We started to realize that the job is not just students it’s actually about the people we work with. So how do you align your desire to serve students with the demands of working in a church? I believe we need alignment between the following in order to experience happiness while serving:

1. Core values
Your core values come from influential people in your life, positive life experiences and scripture. These values when lived out will make you happy; when violated will bring you frustration. If you are experiencing frustration at work then your core values are being stepped on. First you need to identify your values and then you need to make sure they are respected at your church. If your ministry is not born out of your core values you will be frustrated.

2. Clear mission
Your mission must be birthed from your core values. If you value discipleship but your ministry is mostly focused on outreach you are going to struggle. Also many of us have events and activities but we don’t have a clear mission. What is your mission? Now go and ask parents, volunteers and church leadership what they think the mission of the youth ministry is. Did you get one answer or many? If you have a clear mission everyone will give the same answer.

3. Simple strategy
Once our core values and our clear mission line up then we are ready to make them into a simple strategy. A simple strategy gives all your volunteers, parents and students a common language and a clear understanding of who each activity is for and what is its purpose. For example, when I was a youth pastor our simple strategy was Reach, Grow & Go. Every time I announced an event I would inform the students what type of an event it was … Reach, Grow or Go. When I announced it was a Reach event students knew to bring friends. Grow events where for committed students and Go events were for students who wanted to live out their faith. These categories give us a common language that everyone understood. This strategy was simple and let everyone know what our mission was and what we valued as a ministry.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More