Original photo by Seth Sawyers.
Have you ever wondered if all of these events you are doing in your youth ministry are actually accomplishing anything?
In many cases we put more effort, time, and budget toward events than any other aspect of our ministries. Some events happen once and then we move on to the next. Other events are reoccurring. Some are really fun, and some…not so much.
Whether we love them or hate them, events are a given for youth ministry. They certainly can be a great benefit to your ministry, but they also may actually be hurting your ministry. Here are five reasons why:
1. They are not serving a clear purpose
If you are doing events, just to do events, you are probably wasting your time. You could be wasting time that might be spent doing other things that are more effective. Every event should be supporting the vision of your ministry. They should be supporting the characteristics you are aiming to build in your students. These can vary, but you must aim at something or you will never hit anything.
2. They are not well thought out
Events that are not well thought and planned out often accomplish very little. There is a greater danger of someone getting hurt or putting your ministry at risk. An event that is not well thought out will look disorganized and chaotic. While this may be really fun for your students, it will do very little to help earn the trust of the parents in your ministry and you will struggle to be effective.
3. They are not balanced in who they are targeting
It is not healthy for all of your events to be aimed at the students you have and never try to reach the lost. Likewise, it is not healthy for all of your events to be aimed at the lost and never work to build community in those you already have. If you are not balancing your target audience for your events you will fail to build community internally with the students you already have and you won't be able to effective reach outward to those that don't have a connection with you yet. You must take into account both types of students and find a balanced approach for your events. If you do not, you will be hurting your ministry over the long haul.
4. They are not well promoted
Even if your event ideas are amazing, no one will come if you are not promoting your events well. All the time and energy you put towards planning the event will be wasted, and yeah… that would be hurting your ministry. If you have an incredible idea for an event but don't have time to promote it, save it for when you do.
5. They are not family friendly
If your events do not take into consideration the families in your ministry they are definitely hurting your ministry. Is the event too expensive for families? How can you help relieve the financial burden for them? Are your events taking a ton of time away from families that they would be spending together otherwise? How can you rearrange the schedule to allow families to have more time to spend together? Do you have events that the whole family can attend? How can you provide avenues of conversation between parents and students about your event? If your events are hurting the family, they are most definitely hurting your ministry.
What about you? Are you events really hurting your ministry? What kinds of events are you doing that are healthy and helpful for your ministry? How do you make sure your events are actually helping your ministry?
Jody Livingston is the Youth Pastor at Kennesaw First Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia where he oversees Middle School and High School ministries. He has been married to his lovely life for 14 years, has four kids and drives a pretty sweet 1972 VW Beetle. He blogs at TheLongerHaul.com and can be found on twitter @jodylivingston.