So often in youth ministry, there is a marathon that we run. We go from one school to the next, we go from this dance recital to that football game. We try to make time to hang out with the students, but also try to find some one on one time with those that need special counseling and attention for problems going on in their lives. So often, we are simply running and not even looking where we are going.

I sit here today, fatigued a little. I have been going non stop at school functions, youth functions, church meetings, family things, pregnancy appointments with my wife, and just trying to make things all fit in my schedule. My calendar on my phone is empty, but in my head, I have more dates than I care to remember sometimes.

Yet, I was watching some Skit Guys videos this morning. I was really amazed at the way the present the Gospel to people in such a unique and creative way. So much of my ministry has been just maintained. I run the race, but I don't really see the finish line. I don't have a goal sometimes. I need to simplify my ministry.

One thing I have realized is that my ministry, and probably yours, has different goals than the church. No matter how much we justify it, we have different views and goals to achieve even though we claim we align ourselves with the churches vision. Most youth ministers, me included, would say that we are here to grow disciples. Someone might ask how we do that, and then we roll out our calendar and show them all the great things we can do with the youth and how they can get plugged in. However, where is the discipleship? My view for my ministry is to teach students to love God and to love others to God. My churches mission is to reach up, reach in and reach out. Or put more simply, connect grow and serve. I see these three points and my points and feel they are connected but worded differently.

Usually, there is division amongst churches in every ministry. We all strive to be the best and want to succeed the most. I want us to look back a little bit. We need to see that running the fastest doesn't mean we will always be the best. For a youth ministry to succeed, we must not be our own church. We are a branch of the church we are a part of. All the visions and missions should be unified, from diapers to diapers (babies to old people).

Finding unification between the church mission and your youth group mission, being sold on that, selling the leaders and volunteers in your group, and trickling that down to the students will not only help the discipleship process, but it will help your vision for the youth ministry to be able to reach goals. If it can fall into any of the categories (assuming they are connect, grow and serve) then you can put aside things that don't fit this, create new opportunities for discipleship within the perimeters of the vision and mission, and move forward focusing on growing your group as a family and spiritually.
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