Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Youth Ministry Vision Casting *bump*

This is a repost from December that I want to get back to, but with the recent business of life I didn't have the time. Here's where I'm going to pick up shortly.

Do you want the members of your church to really know that God created them for a purpose? Do you really want them to know they can be a very real part of the work of God's kingdom? Do you want to see a passion spread in your church? Would you like to transition from being a church where 20% of the people do 80% of the work (it many churches it's far worse than that) to a church where nearly everyone is actively involved?

If so, then vision-casting is the beginning of this transition. Vision-casting is a process of knowing the what, why, where, and how of the future of a ministry. If your church has 20% that does 80% of the work, you're not going to be able to motivate the other 80% to do anything unless they see a good reason for it. I believe that most people don't get involved in church because the leadership there isn't presenting the what, why, where, and how and because the leadership has failed to do so most feel they would rather not get involved; most often because it looks like a waste of their time and they believe there are better things they could be doing.

How do we install such a passion in the members of our church that they get out of the stands, stop being spectators, and become active members of the church? It begins with visionary leadership.

Over the next few blogs I'm going to talk about forming this process and what God has to say about forming this process, particularly from the youth ministry perspective (but I'm sure much of this would be good for the rest of the church).


Rick Lawrenson said...

I've learned that casting vision is one of the most vital tasks I have in the church as lead pastor.

And you don't just speak it once. It has to be repeated over and again. So I try in every sermon, even if I'm not doing a series on our vision, to bring in at least one visionary statement.

The big issue is that most churches couldn't tell you what God's vision is for them in specifics. So they spin their wheels doing what they've always done.

So please address this: Where does the church get its vision?

TerryKM said...

A question for you. . .

I feel that God has been telling me (over and over) that purpose and vision are everything in ministry otherwise we're much like chaff being blown wherever the wind takes us; that without vision and purpose the best you can hope for in a ministry is to maintain but you're really not going to get anywhere.

Has this been your experience?

Btw, excellent question to cover, "where does the church get its vision?"

Rick Lawrenson said...

It's pretty simple.
Without purpose you don't have a reason for being.
Without vision you don't know how to get there even if you have a purpose.

societyvs said...

"How do we install such a passion in the members of our church that they get out of the stands, stop being spectators, and become active members of the church? It begins with visionary leadership." (Terry)

If you want to install passion - words will not quite do the trick my good man - even if a vision is good - it needs substance.

I have toyed with this idea for some time and I think the best path to getting people involved is simple - do something. Start a ministry for young mothers, do work with the elderly, start a soup kitchen, do a clothing exchange program, start a grocery program for people in need, etc. Start a bunch of programs that seek to live out the idea 'do unto others what you would like done unto you' and I will bet that many more people get involved - why? They donate, they participate, and they see the reward. Nothing hard about that.

Don't get me wrong a vision is nice and needed - but what good is a vision and mere rhetoric if it's never put into some serious action (as a community of people)?

beachbug said...

I know that I personally would not get involved in a church that didn't have their purpose clearly stated and their vision of how they would get there.

I think you can have programs as societyvs has stated but I'm not going to join a program if I don't know the purpose and can't see that the leader has vision for the direction it should go.

Churches that are spinning their wheels are making a rut and we all know that a rut is just a grave open at both ends.

Great question: Where does the church get its vision?

beachbug said...

May I also add this question:

Should the youth ministry's vision be the same vision for the church?

Rick Lawrenson said...

If the church is indeed one body, why shouldn't the vision be the same? Sure, the youth ministry would target youth, the worship ministry target worshippers, etc., but if you've got different visions within the same church don't you have a type of division?

And if that division grows, eventually there is going to be a showdown. And we wonder why youth ministers don't usually last 2 years in a church.

Not saying it's their fault, but there has to be a continuity through the church's various ministries. We all have to be on the same page, working toward the same goals.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Rick Lawrenson said...

Commenting on what societyvs said...

Starting programs without a vision is putting the cart before the horse. "Do something", yes. But know why you're doing them and where you hope they'll take you before. Otherwise you're likely to "do something" counterproductive or even wrong.

A scriptural parallel comes from James' words: Be doers of the Word. The Word is the "vision" and the "doing" follows.

And if a church says "Here's are vision" but is sitting around doing nothing there vision isn't worth the paper on which it's written.

Rick Lawrenson said...

"Here's OUR vision".

TerryKM said...

The church and the youth ministry must share its vision otherwise there will be devision, like Rick said.

But. . .I do think it is very possible for ministries in a church to take the church's vision and turn it into their own. A little rewording and finding applying the vision in different ways are okay.

An example of this is Rick Warren and Doug Fields (Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor of Saddleback Church).

Rick W.'s purpose statement of the vision for the church is Magnification, Ministry, Missions, Membership, and Mature. But Doug F.'s purpose statement for the high school youth is Honor, Discover, Reach, Connect, and Grow. Doug also explains the concepts of the purpose in different ways. You can tell that Doug has taken the church vision and turned into his own for the youth ministry.

beachbug said...

See my questions got you two to think!

I agree that the vision must be the same.

I hear the frustration stories from youth pastors who are in a church where there is no vision. They attempt to cast vision to the students. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, mainly because the adults "don't get it", or haven't bought into the vision.

societyvs said...

"Starting programs without a vision is putting the cart before the horse." (Rick)

I agree - that's why I mentioned developing a vision is part of the process also. The main fear is the church becoming a 'talking circle' and not a place where we enact the ideas we develop - mainly because church ministry focuses too much on confession via words and not confession via actions.

Rick Lawrenson said...

That's why we killed off any committees in our church years ago. Committees sit around and talk about what should be done.

We replaced them with teams that act.