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Football is back and the baseball playoffs are right around the corner. That means heated competition and intense rivalry. It’s a season where winning is important because it gets you ahead and puts you on the right track for glory. When you win it shows success. There are those teams that get lucky in a win when a few key moments go their way. But to win over and over again takes teamwork, focus and the ability to lean into the pressure. When it comes to sports, winning allows us to know that our team is doing well. It is a part of their success. When it comes to ministry the same is true.
Winning in ministry might seem like a foreign concept because it doesn’t seem like it should be a competition. However, in reality you are competing. It’s just we forget about our opponent. Youth ministry is a part of the great spiritual battle happening around us. So, while you might not like the idea of winning in youth ministry it’s important or else teens aren’t finding Christ and families are not being supported.
The other problem with winning when it comes to youth ministry is that don’t know what it should look or feel like. It doesn’t have a set metric system like sports do. What’s the scoring system? How is it tracked are all questions we need to answer. In order to know whether or not you are winning you need to be able to:
- Define Life Change – One example of a win is when life change occurs. If anything it’s probably the greatest win. So, what does a life changed look like in your church? Is it someone accepting Christ? Plugging into all the components of your church? If you do not know your end result you’ll have no idea how to get there. The definition should be found in your vision statement and it should have tangible examples.
- Face New Challenges – When the level of your competition increases you know that you are winning. Competition increases when you face new challenges. It’s no longer the same old problems because those have been defeated, it’s about going further, deeper and wider in your ministry. The new challenges might be daunting; however, you just need to lean in and take it on.
- Embrace The Attention – You know you are winning when others notice. Some of the attention will be positive while some of it will be negative. It happens in sports and unfortunately it happens in youth ministry too. It’s not pride, you are just displaying God’s fruit. If you receive criticism, embrace it. While some of it may be constructive, recognize that a lot of it will be from jealousy and insecurity. Just embrace who you are and what’s made you authentic.
- Share The Success – Winning is contagious and you shouldn’t be the only one aware of the ministry’s success. You know you are winning when other people are sharing with you stories of life change. Invite your team to share their stories where teens, and parents are taking the next step. If no one is sharing then you might have to look at your definition of life change.
It’s awkward to talk about winning because ministry does not feel like a competition. Yet, you were called to save lives and bring them to Christ. If that’s what you were called to do, then the question is, “How do you measure that?” The answer is in how much you are winning.
What are your thoughts? Do you think winning is the right term? How do you define success in youth ministry?