(Supplies Needed: Before the meeting have someone compile a list of everyone in the demographic this ministry is focused on and/or attendance sheets for those people; pens; copies of this discussion guide)
Jesus, thank you for the people in our ministry. You have placed them among us for this time and season. Open our eyes to the gift they are to us, their needs we can meet, and how we can best serve alongside them in Your Kingdom. Amen.
Something to Consider:
Just as important as “why” we are here is looking at “who” we are here for. There is some debate on whether this conversation should perhaps even come before the “why,” but either way it is vitally important to a thriving ministry. Within this topic, there are at least two ways to look at it:
- Who is already here and 2. Who do we wish was here that isn’t?
Let’s start with that first one. Who do you ALREADY have? It is easy to get discouraged with low numbers or in not attracting a certain demographic you hope for, but we wouldn’t want to miss the ones who ARE showing up, the ones you do have connections with. God has placed them there for a reason. Whether students, parents, staff, or volunteers, the people in your ministry are ultimately why you’re here in the first place.
As we dig into this important aspect of ministry, let’s see what God’s Word has to say.
Read these passages together as a team:
- “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” (Matthew 18:20 ESV)
- “God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live. God wanted people to look for him, and perhaps in searching all around for him, they would find him. But he is not far from any of us.” (Acts 17:26-27 ERV)
- Whether there are two people currently in your ministry or two thousand, how do these verses encourage or challenge us as a team as we consider who is already present in our ministry area?
- What does it mean to you that Jesus is present even with two or three?
- Without saying names, think about the people in your ministry that seem “far” from Jesus. What makes you sense that? The Acts verse tells us that God is not far from even that person, but instead has put them exactly where they are at this time so that they might find Him. How might their life look different if you believed the truth?
Pass out the database list or attendance sheets for the people in your ministry area. Skim through the list and make observations out loud of who is on the list (or not on it). Some example questions:
- Do you have a lot of students from one school or are they spread out among many schools?
- Are these students “life-long Christians” or brand new to this “Jesus thing”?
- Are their parents involved at all; what level of involvement?
- Are they showing up because “it’s just what we do” or because they actually want to be there?
- What types of activities do they enjoy in their everyday life?
After any of these (or other) observations consider the benefits as well as the challenges related to that observation. For example, new Christians often bring a new passion than those who have grown up in the church their whole life, but also don’t have the same biblical background that others may have.
- How might these challenges and opportunities impact the way we do ministry?
- How does this information we talked about tonight fit with our “WHY”? Does it adapt it at all? If so, how and why?
Practical Action Step
Write down the name of a student/person in the ministry you don’t feel like you know at all. Under their name, write down three things you would like to learn about them (e.g. where they go to school, what they do for fun, favorite color, favorite food, parents’ names, where they like to hang out, favorite video game, etc.) Challenge each other to find out at least one thing on that list in the next week and all three in the next month, praying for that student each day this next month.
(WARNING: Be prepared, if you do this, you may get to witness God do amazing things in that students’ life this month!)
To close out today’s time, pray over each and every name of the people in our ministry. Here are some ideas of how you might do this depending on how many people there are, how much time you have, and what fits your team:
- If you have a lot on the list, pray through them just listing off the first names.
- Divide up the names among team members and pray individually for your list.
- If you only have a few, consider taking time to pick out a Bible verse to pray over each one that connects with what you are praying God would do in their lives or use one of the Scriptures below personalizing it with a students’ name as you pray for them.
God, may (STUDENT’S NAME) know that you have not given him/her a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Jesus, help (STUDENT’S NAME) trust in You with all their heart; not depend on his/her own understanding. Help him/her seek You in all he/she does; show (STUDENT’S NAME) which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We pray today that (STUDENT’S NAME) can cast all their anxiety on You, Jesus. May they know that you truly do care for them! (1 Peter 5:7)
May the God of all hope fill (STUDENT’S NAME) with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit in him/her, he/she may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
I pray that (STUDENT’S NAME), being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that he/she may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)