Almost every youth ministry shares a similar goal: To multiply the ministry through the love of Christ. Yet growth can be a controversial topic for a lot of ministries. There are some who look at being “large” as a sign of selling out or having a “watered-down” version of the gospel. And others who see a “small” youth ministry as the “few and the proud” or the “weak and the irrelevant.”
Being in youth ministry for some time now has lent me the opportunity to visit and work in different types of youth ministry cultures. My last job in youth ministry, for instance, was at one of the largest churches in America. We had hundreds of students across multiple campuses who showed up each week. This experience was radically different from my current position as a youth minister at a church where the ministry had been slowly dying for years.
Try This! ❯
Take the time this week to develop a disciple multiplication strategy and share it with your students.
Interestingly enough, both ministries presented two separate yet similar problems. Outsiders of the large church had an overwhelmingly negative sentiment towards what we were “doing.” As if we were deceptively luring all the teenagers in the town by playing music on our magical pipes. On the other hand, at my current small-sized church there is an underwhelming sentiment when it comes to reaching the entire community for Christ. While these attitudes don’t represent every viewpoint toward large and small ministries, it does represent a common problem: People struggle with valuing discipleship multiplication.
Here’s the truth: If we aren’t growing, then what are we doing? THE Cause that Christ sent us on is built around the idea of disciple multiplication. Churches need to multiply; youth ministries need to multiply. It doesn’t matter if you are in a large or small church, the goal needs to be multiplication through the gospel—PERIOD. We cannot be afraid of evangelism; therefore, we must always strive for growth and multiplication.
A clear understanding of why
Gospel Advancing Ministries aren’t about fitting into a comfortable norm or being culturally relevant. Gospel Advancing Ministries understand that without Jesus, we are destined to live broken and destructive lives that are completely separated from God. As the old saying goes, “We are hell-bound sinners without Christ.” The gospel message is the hope of the world. It is what takes a person who is dead in their transgressions and returns them back to life (Ephesians 2:5). We want growth, not so that we can gloat about it or feel bigger about ourselves; rather, we want growth because we understand that people are in desperate need of a savior.
Create a radical plan
At our Dare 2 Share office in Colorado, we have a quote from John Haggai on our wall that says, “Attempt something so great for God it’s doomed to failure unless God be in it.” When Christ left this earth, He sent a Counselor to guide and direct us, which means that as Christians we carry the very power of God with us. How amazing is it that the same power that conquered death and the grave resides inside of Christ’s church? How much more, then, should we be motivated to create a radical plan for gospel advancement? It doesn’t matter if you have a handful of kids in your ministry or if you have thousands, God wants us to build His church, not our own.
Inspire your students
Your students have the ability to spread the gospel faster to teenagers than any leader in your entire ministry—including you. Each day that they go to school, practice or work, they are engaging in conversations with unchurched, secular, lost people. Do you really believe God can use your teens? Then develop a strategy that calls your students to action. Start this by building out a simple and BOLD strategy for disciple multiplication. For example, if you have twenty students in your ministry, you could set a vision for 100% new conversion growth. Sounds crazy? Well, it really breaks down to each student reaching one person in the course of a year. That’s it… one student, reaching one person.
Building a disciple multiplication strategy honors God and the mission that He sent His church to accomplish. So surround yourself with like-minded, gospel advancing, leaders who will help you work toward a goal. If you can’t find any, start training adults and students into gospel advancing leaders (For more, check out 4 Secret to Find the Right Leaders). Then together, whether you are big or small, allow the creator of the universe to invade your ministry and inspire everyone to reach a generation for Christ. Build evangelism into your group’s DNA!
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, weekly resource in your inbox!