Leverage Influence: Create consistent opportunities for students to experience personal ministry.
We are all designed to live inside a story, to play a role in that story. Leaders who are thinking Orange must decide something about discipleship. If we fail to help kids make a practical investment of their time and energy in serving others, their hearts will never mature to care for others. Too many churches teach as if students should sit and listen instead of actually experiencing hands-on ministry.
One of the best ways to stimulate faith is to give someone an opportunity to have a personal ministry. We want kids to believe . . .
- Wonder: I am created to pursue an authentic relationship with my creator.
- Discovery: I belong to Jesus Christ and define who I am by what He says.
- Passion: I exist every day to demonstrate God’s love to a broken world.
If children believe this by the time they leave home, the family wins. If these three things become a reality, we as a church have done our job. When we rethink the value of personal ministry, we . . .
- Move toward a holistic model of discipleship. Personal ministry or service needs to be viewed by every leader and parent as a priority when it comes to discipleship. Churches can open up opportunities for teenagers to serve during weekend services and be mentored by adult leaders—creating an opportunity for service to span the generations.
- Move toward an experiential and relational approach to curriculum. Jesus did not teach the disciples to do ministry. He did ministry with the disciples while He taught them. As you observe the stages of development from preschool to college, the need to experience ministry becomes more intense as kids get older. A curriculum that incorporates a balance of learning with relevant experience and ministry opportunities is more likely to encourage students to become responsible for their own spiritual maturity and development.
- We find a new way to measure ministry. Jesus reached the world by leveraging the influence of common people and empowering them to do uncommon things. You never know who may be on the sidelines waiting for an opportunity. Everyone has potential and possibilities. We should start organizing our ministries to leverage the influence that every student has to make a difference.
As leaders and parents, our primary calling is not to keep our children in the church, but to lead them to be the church. When we give them the keys to ministry, we are helping them become the church. God has wired them as His lampstands to shine a light so we can see Him, others, and ourselves in the way He intends. The greatest calling of the church and home is to lead our sons and daughters into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The best gift we can ever give them is to enable them to play an active role in His story of restoration and hope.
To read more about how to integrate strategy in your ministry, check out Think Orange by Reggie Joiner.