Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.
Kids have no filter. Leave it to a child to say exactly what they’re thinking—whether you would like them to or not. This funny quote was a real letter written to God by a young girl. While honesty is a good quality, a part of growing up is figuring out what is worth saying, doing and believing—and what needs to be filtered out.
As a youth leader, you need a way to filter all the activities that demand your attention, so you can prioritize your efforts. That is, with the growing number of strategies, techniques and approaches to youth ministry, it can be hard to know what is essential for a youth ministry and what needs to be filtered out. Things like games, follow-up, leadership meetings, small groups, conferences, volunteer training and many other aspects of ministry can cloud your assessment of what you need to focus on.
Biblical outcomes focus on the important fruits that Gospel Advancing Ministries are trying to produce—and not just the activity of a ministry. They create a filter that sifts out the non-essential components of a ministry in order to prioritize the things essential to advancing Jesus’ mission to make disciples who make disciples. Although sometimes figuring out the kinds of biblical outcomes that are worthwhile can be tricky, but once you’ve identified the right measurements, it’s time to make sure those biblical outcomes are driving your programming and calendaring decisions.Biblical outcomes make room for gospel advancement by filtering out the non-essentials in ministry. Click To Tweet
Here are four questions that will help you run your week-in-and-week-out decisions through a biblical outcome filter.
Try This! ❯
Answer one of the four questions this week. Then at your next leadership gathering, discuss the question with your team.
1. Should you keep all the current elements of your ministry programming? Why or why not?
Sometimes ministries can create “sacred cows” that cannot be touched. I remember taking over a dying church’s youth group that had several sacred cows, which really served no purpose. The congregation fell into a rut and never really asked why they were doing certain things. These kinds of activities can be huge time wasters and counterproductive to gospel advancement. Figure out what is essential and what is not within your ministry.
2. Are there elements of the ministry that can be altered to be more gospel advancing?
Once you’ve taken the time to understand what is essential within your ministry, consider looking at non-essential or weaker aspects of your ministry’s program. Then explore how it can be changed to accentuate gospel-advancing impact. For instance, games provide a great way for your youth to mix and get to know one another. And while there are a number of great games out there like Spoon or Mafia, you may find that picking games that can tie into the message can make a big difference. Games that have meaning allow students to have a hands-on experience with the message.
3. What new elements might fit within the weekly program that would help to accelerate progress?
Growth takes time, but sometimes there are ways to accelerate growth. Look through your program and ask how this is impacting the students who are a part of the ministry? Storytelling, for example, is a great way to inspire students to become gospel advancing. Consider adding in new elements like Take 5 for THE Cause. This is a great way to get students sharing stories about whom they are reaching out to with the gospel. All you have to do is take five minutes during your weekly rhythm to share stories. A good way to rollout Take 5 is by having student and adult leaders ready to share something for the first few weeks.
4. What does my calendar communicate?
The last three questions put your ministry under the microscope, but question four has you take a 30,000-foot view of your ministry. That is, looking at your ministry’s calendar allows you to see exactly what’s being communicated. For example, if your calendar only has entertainment driven events, then your ministry will struggle to have biblical outcomes. This may seem discouraging, but it doesn’t take much to Gospelize your ministry’s calendar.
Biblical outcomes aren’t as elusive as we can oftentimes make them be. Taking the time to ask these four questions can really make a difference by filtering out the junk. God wants to bless our ministries, after all. We just need to let him.