Today kicked off the very first Youth Ministry Leadership Exchange, the product of a combined effort between Orange, Download Youth Ministry, and Fuller Youth Institute. Approximately 500 youth workers have come together for a one-of-a-kind event focused on exchanging ideas to become better leaders.

The first couple sessions were all about the importance of strategy. I’ve put together some of the main thoughts that stood out to me after hearing from the likes of Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, John Acuff, Gerald Fadayomi, and more:

  • It is incredibly important that youth pastors be multipliers and developers. Our job is not to run everything, but to find others, pour into them, and help them to become better leaders to students and families.
  • Along those lines, systems are important. Of course, they are not the primary focus, but if used properly, they can be a key way for us to achieve our end goal. So, we need to figure out where we want the ministry to go, decide how we want to measure it along the way, and put together a system to get there and measure our progress along the way.
  • As we create the systems, though, we cannot get wrapped up in the tasks. Instead, we need to always keep imagining and dreaming about what God wants for the teenagers in our communities. That will help us have compassion on them, stay motivated, and always be willing to innovate.
  • One of the key aspects of our strategy needs to include the further quality and growth of our leaders. We need to ensure quality leaders and help them grow. And if you cannot do that, you need to get someone (or a group of people) who can.

The biggest thing that I took from all of this is that I need to really study our current structure and strategy and develop a plan that will help us get where God wants to take the ministry over the next 5, 10, 15+ years. A lot of that will include tightening up what we already do, but other things may need to be cut or change in a big way. Still, other pieces of our ministry may look the same or just improve. In order to figure that out, I need to put myself in a strategic position to learn as much as I can about our current ministry, pray a ton about our future, and then gather key people together to begin developing the new and improved strategy.

What are your thoughts on strategy when it comes to student ministry? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay tuned for more YMLX posts as we continue talking about change, team, culture, parents, and more over the next few days.

For all my posts from YMLX 2018, click here.


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