Are you a New Year’s resolution person? Do you get energy from all the possibilities of a fresh start? Some dream bigger this time of year, others roll their eyes at lofty goals. Regardless of whether you’re a dreamer, an eye-roller, or somewhere in between, we can all agree we’d rather get better than worse. The problem is, it doesn’t just happen on its own. Benjamin Franklin is famously credited with saying, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”
In youth ministry, it can be hard to set realistic goals. Our desire is to point students and leaders to Jesus—but how? How do we measure success or failure as we work to move from good intentions into good outcomes? Here are three ideas to set your youth ministry up for success in 2020.
How consistently do you contact your students? When was the last time you or a youth leader reached out to each of your students individually? A few months ago, my lead pastor asked me to text each of our students every three months with a quick note. Not only has this brought a positive response from my students, but it has also kept me more closely connected with them. Now that I am on my second time through the cycle (texting a few each week), I’m realizing just how easy it is to let a couple of months slip by without connecting with students individually. Reaching out every three months keeps me in touch even when life and ministry would have taken them off my radar. A quick text to encourage your students or remind them that they were prayed for is a very effective way to let them know you care. This is one of the best “small things” that has happened in my ministry!
Adult sponsors are the secret sauce for youth ministry. There’s no substitute for having other adults pouring into your teens alongside you. Good sponsors increase your credibility with students and parents, and they become another voice of truth-speaking into your students’ lives.
What are you doing to invest in your sponsors? Who are you recruiting to come and influence your students? And how are you working to develop their skills? I’ll confess that this is an area where I have more questions and goals than results or success stories. But it’s an area where I want to intentionally grow in 2020. The truth is that, no matter how hard I try, I am only one voice in the lives of the students I serve. They will be better prepared to follow Jesus if I am intentional about setting godly examples in front of them—including, but definitely not limited to, myself.
Do you feel like you need to add something new to your youth ministry? Although Quizzing itself isn’t new (it’s been around since 1964!), maybe Quizzing would be a good start.
Bible Quizzing is, in my opinion, one of the best teen ministries in the Church of the Nazarene. While camps, mission trips, field events, NYC, and many other ministries are super important, Quizzing offers daily, weekly, and monthly opportunities for transformation (along with annual events, too!). By dangling the “carrot” of competition, it entices students to consistently be in God’s Word. Through gathering for weekly Quiz practices and monthly Quiz meets, students have more opportunities to build relationships with believers who are also in the Word. When students commit scripture to memory, seeds of the gospel are planted—seeds that will not return empty but will accomplish what God desires and achieve the purpose for which they were sent (Isaiah 55:11).
If you want to get started or just want more information, visit nyiconnect.com/youth-quizzing. It could be the beginning of something that transforms your students’ lives like it has transformed mine.
Happy New Year!