Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
I’ve used this scripture every time I’ve met with a church to do vision planning. However, I have met with a lot of churches without a vision and none of them have perished yet. So I’d like to translate this passage for you, or better yet, offer you a verse from my own personal gospel (I didn’t live in the time when the canon was chosen, and it might be heresy anyway).
“The blind can’t see where to go.” 1 Dietrich 14:16 or
“Without direction, the people go nowhere and anywhere all at once.” 1 Dietrich 21:12 (it’s a long gospel)
There are plenty of famous sayings like, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there” from our friendly cat in Alice in Wonderland, and “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else” from Laurence J. Peter, but I’m sure you’ll agree they aren’t as direct as my sayings.
All this is to say that good vision planning sets a direction and course for a ministry or organization. A strong vision plan has three primary parts: a vision statement, a mission statement, and a strategic ministry action plan (MAP).
What is the vision of your church or youth ministry? How does it inform the leadership and your members where you are going?
Some refer to the vision of an organization as the preferred reality that we hope to live into. Vision should inspire hope that in the future, things will be different than they are today. So a youth ministry vision statement might be:
Young people transformed by the love of God to change the world.
Mission is about who we are and how we are going to get to our preferred reality. Both are extraordinarily important for the success of any ministry or organization. A youth ministry mission statement might be:
The youth of “Main Street Church” seek to know God, love God, and serve God.
The strategic ministry action plan or MAP will provide concrete (measurable) steps and benchmarks of how we are going to get from our current reality to our preferred reality by living out our mission. Main Street Church’s know God section of their MAP might look something like:
You get the idea. If your ministry is not going where you want it to, there is a good chance that you have not created a defined MAP to fulfill your clearly articulated vision and mission.
The most effective ministries follow their MAPs and stay focused on the vision and mission God has given them. Take time this week to evaluate whether your ministry can imagine the promised land and is putting all their energy and efforts towards reaching it, or if it is wandering around aimlessly in the desert.
We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full. Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
We’ve created a Pandemic Youth Week curriculum bundle that combines elements of both a summer camp and a youth week. Many youth are missing out on both of these due to cancelled camps and trips among other cancelled important events your youth would usually attend. We’ve written this curriculum such that it can be used in person while socially distancing, online, or some combination of both.
Despite all the challenges the pandemic has presented to youth ministries, it has also created an opportunity to allow youth more involvement in worship. Although youth sunday will look very different this year, it is a great opportunity to empower our youth to be leaders. Youth’s comfort and familiarity with technology make them a great resource for churches who are seeking to move their worship services online for the first time.