Now that we have completed most of the repairs and renovations brought on by a water backup in our basement, Cassie and I moved the majority of items that belong in our basement from our garage to their new homes.
For the most part, the move was uneventful. We took a look at an item, decided where it would go and moved it there. When we found an item that we couldn’t think of a place for it to go, we would take a picture of it and post it online for sale. It was very satisfying ending the afternoon by driving our vehicle back into the garage where there was once a pile of camping gear, a drum set, Sophia’s toys and a variety of other items.
Our only casualty was an old glass chess board, which got me thinking about strategy.
We had to consider what items to keep and where to put them. Organizations, teams and people everywhere need to do this regularly to be effective.
There are three categories we need to work through:
- We need to consider what things are working, and how they could work better.
- We need to consider what things aren’t working, and whether they’re worth the effort that’s being put into them.
- We need to consider gaps in our strategy.
If we apply this to Ridgewood’s youth ministry, there were two main things that stuck out to me.
Regarding What Was Working
I was generally happy with how our studies were going. Some youth were trying their hands at new things like leading music or leading studies. Leaders were having good conversations and, generally, evenings had a good flow to them.
There were a couple of ways, though, that the leaders and I thought that these evenings could be improved, both of which came out of one perceived weakness. These evenings seemed very passive from the perspective of the youth. They would arrive, have a game planned for them, have snack prepared for them, be spoken at for much of the study, and then finally at the end of the evening have a chance for discussion.
The problem is that this trains us to view the church from a consumer mentality.
The way that we want to strategically develop these evenings is by creating more opportunities for the youth to be involved. As soon as we turned that corner in our thinking, we started noticing all sorts of places where the youth can be actively engaged in the ministry.
Rather than simply playing a game, why don’t we use that game to create discussion and begin to get ourselves thinking about the study material?
Rather than having myself and the youth leaders lead each portion of the evening, why not identify where each youth’s gifting is and get them involved in that area of the ministry?
These questions move us from a program that the youth attend to a community that the youth own. A community of youth coming together to share experiences, to read the Bible and spend time together. A community where each person looks for an opportunity to use their gifts, the things that they’re passionate about to grow and develop the community. A community that sounds a bit like church.
P.S. I mentioned a second way that we intended to shift the direction of the program… We’ll chat about that next week!