If you’re going to grow a youth ministry, the people around you have to be “on board” with what you’re doing. You have to give adult leaders and student leaders constant reminders of your vision and the goals flowing out of that. (Sometimes you have to remind yourself of these things, too, but that’s probably for another blog post.)
If growth is a goal, it means you need to have a target number. Put it out there so your volunteers and your kids know what you’re shooting for. If you’ve got a goal to grow from 15 to 30 during the school year but your kids don’t know that, they’ll be satisfied when you get to 22, and inviting friends will seem less urgent.
At the same time, remember that a goal is not a vision. Don’t substitute a numerical growth goal for the real heart of your ministry. My youth leadership team has been talking a lot about this year’s goals for growth, but the last time we were together I had to make sure they weren’t getting off track. So, I reminded them that the reason I want to see more and more youth coming to PointeBreak (our youth night) is not so I can pick up more friends on Facebook, and it’s not so I can have more followers on Twitter. I don’t care if kids “like” the PointeBreak page. I don’t care how many follow me.
I want to see more kids at PointeBreak because I know when they come they’re going to hear the Gospel, and as they come in contact with God’s Word He’s going to work in their lives. I want more and more kids to come to PointeBreak because I want more and more kids in our city to become Jesus followers. That’s my passion, and that’s part of the vision we have in our youth ministry. And, that’s what my student leaders needed to hear…again. They’ve heard it before. But, it’s easy to fixate on specific goals and start talking about them as if they were our purpose. Goals should aid and direct us in living out a vision. But, in order to keep them straight we have to cast that vision again, and again, and again.