This past Wednesday, we had the privilege of celebrating our largest youth service in the history of our church! It is incredible to sit back and see what God is doing in and through our student ministry! Lives are being impacted and countless students are becoming connected into the culture of our ministry!
Although numbers help measure success, they cannot be the main determining factor. We must take time to celebrate the small victories that help us accomplish our overarching goals. Not only are we celebrating the incredible numerical growth we have seen, but also the little things that have helped us get to where we are!
Luke 16:10 says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Although Jesus is talking specifically about money here, I believe we can take this and relate it into our individual ministries. When we are successful in the small areas, we will see God bless us with incredible growth. When we fool ourselves and miss celebrating the small things, we will struggle to see large numerical growth.
I have spent quite a bit of time evaluating every aspect of our student ministry over the past couple of weeks. I challenge every church leader to assess and celebrate the small victories taking place within your ministry! As you do this, it will open your eyes to where God desires to take you and I guarantee you will success in ways you could never imagine! Here are four small, yet very important, areas that have helped get us to where we are today.
1. Transformed Lives – This past Wednesday we saw an 8th grade guy give his life to Christ and 2 other middle school students rededicate their lives to Christ! There is a barely a week that goes by where we do not see lives drastically changed for the cause of Christ! Our ministry is filled with leaders who are passionate about seeing students impacted by a life with Christ. They are not afraid to ask the serious questions, challenging our students spiritually! We must approach the heart of our students to see lives truly transformed.
How are you seeing lives transformed for the cause of Christ within your ministry? Even if they are not taking place in large numbers, are you celebrating the victory of each student impacted by a relationship with Christ? I often become jealous of gigantic student ministries that see 20-30 students come to know Christ on a weekly basis. Although we must strive towards big victories, we cannot miss each individual life transformed by the love of Christ!
2. Culture of Discipleship – If you have read any of my other blogs on student ministry, I am sure you have picked up by now how passionate I am about creating a culture of discipleship within student ministry. I would love to say the majority of our students are actively being discipled, but I cannot lie. However, I can celebrate the discipleship culture we are working to create within our ministry. We are spending a great amount of time and energy on our discipleship process. We have brainstormed what it looks like to live, eat, and breathe discipleship, how we measure success, and the difference between coaching, mentoring, and discipleship. We have one key volunteer who leads the charge as our Student Ministry Discipleship Coordinator. She has worked diligently on a follow-up system that will help establish accountability amongst those discipling students.
I recently wrote an article on Leading with Grace. In it I talk about one of our high school students who began teaching at our middle school weekend services. I am proud to say he also began discipling a middle school guy a couple of weeks ago! While many look at this as a small victory, I look at it as a large step towards creating a culture of discipleship! Here is a junior in high school who not only was discipled, but has caught the vision of discipling others! We have developed the system to keep him accountable and help him through the entire process. How are you celebrating the small victories of discipleship within your ministry?
3. First Impressions – I received a phone call this past week from the mother of one of our new students. She was very leery about dropping her 9th grade daughter off to our church on a Wednesday evening. I had goose bumps as I shared with her our passion to see students and families welcomed and connected into our weekly youth gathering! When a new student walks on our campus that are immediately greeted by our First Impressions Team. A New Student Host connects with them, walks them around our entire campus and introduces them to key leaders, their Small Group Leader, and several students who will be in their small group. We want students to feel as welcome as possible as they become connected into the culture of our youth ministry.
We intentionally fill our First Impressions Team with some of our most welcoming, full of energy leaders! Those first couple of minutes on campus for a new student are often the determining factor of them opening up during small groups or coming back the following week. What are you doing to welcome new students? Is this an area you are able to celebrate?
4. Leadership Teams – We often celebrate the leaders who are front and center or the ones who spend the most time impacting students. When was the last time you celebrated those who don’t necessarily lead from the spotlight? We have an incredible team who sets up our environments each and every week – moving chairs, setting up computers, printing out check-in sheets, and putting together leaders’ folders. Our technical arts team spends a few hours each week putting together the technical production aspect of our weekly youth service. Our café team is their week-in and week-out serving coffee, smoothies, pizza, and snacks! Our ministry is made up of so many other leaders who pour into the background and organizational side of our ministry! I am blessed to see their hearts, serve alongside them, and celebrate the awesome love they have for our student ministry!
Do you have leaders who have caught on to the vision of your church and ministry? Are they passionate about what they do or do you just throw them into positions? Celebrate the leadership teams that don’t often experience the spotlight! I truly believe they are just as important as the speaker and worship leader. Without the time and energy these teams spend each week, ministry would not be possible and growth would not take place in the capacity that we desire!
Never miss the small wins that take place within your ministry on a daily and weekly basis! Celebrate the accomplishments of your students, leaders, and families. Never become so wrapped up in the large number of attendance that you miss the little things that help get you to where God wants you!