Youth ministry, student ministry, youth group, youth pastor

Gaining Traction

By Doug Franklin November 12, 2013

“I try new program after new program and nothing is working. We have the same students and the same problems;” what do we have to do to move this youth ministry forward?”

Ever said that or felt that? You’re not alone, many of the youth workers we partner with at LeaderTreks tell us this every day.

Maybe you’ve read the latest book from a mega-church pastor or a church leadership guru. You did what they did but it didn’t work. Being a leadership mimic will never work for you or anyone.  You have different gifts and your circumstances are different.

Gaining traction happens when we live out your passion, develop other leaders to join your vision and through intentional actions see transformation happen in the lives of the people you are ministering to.

Let me break that down for you ..

1. Live out your passion
When we live out our passion, I believe we are living out God’s call on our lives. God has given us things we love to do; connect with them and find ways to live them out in your ministry. I have a passion to see people grow as disciples. I love teaching in small groups and mentoring. So at LeaderTreks I spend most of my time developing staff members. In most youth ministry organizations I would be the front guy out speaking and making a name for myself and the organization but that is not my passion. When I spend my time developing people, we send better people out to do the ministry of LeaderTreks.  Better people means traction because our partners love the experiences when they have mature and focused staff.

2. Developing other leaders to join the vision
Ministry never happens alone. Jesus created the church because he understood that we were made for community and serving together. So build a team and not just a team of followers but a team of leaders. Folks that can own parts of the ministry, people that you can help them live out their passions. It starts with building relationships. People join teams when they know other people on the team. Get out in the church lobby and get to know as many people as possible. Share your passion and your vision for the ministry. People also join vision. Be clear about what you are doing and invite people to join the vision. You will gain traction very time a new person joins your team because the more people who are on your team moving in the same direction the more momentum is developed.

3. Transformation happens through intentional actions
Knowing your passion and understanding your vision is key; now ask yourself where are we now and where do we want to go? I look at it like two mountain cliffs facing each other with a large gap in between. Our mission is to build a bridge from where we are now to where we want to go. The planks in this bridge are the intentional actions we need to take.  As you identify these planks your intentional actions will become clear. Give your other leaders clear focus on what is important. This clear mission will give you traction so you can move forward.


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