I coach our son’s football team. It’s not because I’m great at football, I just want to be involved in the things he is interested in – plus I am just able to communicate in such a way that has seen the team develop in their skills and begin to get some positive results.
At halftime, in amongst the mandatory oranges, we always talk about how the first 25 minutes went – how we played, what’s working, what’s not working, the strategy of the other team. We also spend time chatting about what we need to do differently – how we need to adjust in order or get the result we want.
Youth Pastors and Youth Leaders need to sometime similar at halftime – the mid-year point in the ministry they lead.
Here are 7 questions I have found helpful:
1. How am I travelling with Jesus?
How focused are you on Jesus? How is your own devotional life? How are you participating in what God is doing outside of your ministry role? How’s your heart? What do you need to do in order to ensure that you are giving Jesus what He deserves?
2. How is the team?
You may have had new leaders join the youth leadership team this year – how are they going? Is it what they expected? What are they finding difficult or frustrating? You may also have leaders who are navigating a difficult season – perhaps it’s in their family or in their work. Show the love of God by connecting with each leader individually and ask how they’re doing and what you can do to support them in their role.
3. What has been the biggest celebration?
As you reflect on the year that’s been, what is the one thing you are celebrating? Is it a young person coming to faith? A Baptism? A shift in culture? A renewed focus around service or mission? Make sure you take note of what God has been doing and tell others about it. Do this in conversations.
Write in the church bulletin. Tell stories in a Sunday gathering. Put it on your social media channels. The mid-year point in the youth ministry year can be a tricky spot as it’s so far from the energy and enthusiasm of the start of the year, and so far from the end.
4. Who are the new people and how are they doing?
This may be in the form of youth people from the Children’s Ministry joining the youth ministry community, the invitation of friends, people moving into the area, or dare I say teenagers changing churches. No matter the case, who are the new people this year, and how are they going at connecting in the youth ministry?
5. Who is missing?
In a similar way to new people, who is no longer part of the youth ministry (but was earlier in the year)? At the mid-year point in youth ministry, be sure to look around to see the faces who aren’t present. Be bold and take the time to ask them why this is the case – their answers might not be what you expected.
6. What training needs to occur?
Training comes in many different forms – books, podcasts, seminars, courses, conferences. As you reflect on where you’ve been this year, the things that you’re facing, the people God has gathered together, what training do you need to engage in. Perhaps as part of this, you could ask others in your network what training they’ve found helpful.
7. Are we fulfilling God’s vision here?
With everything that’s been happening, are you doing what you have been called to? Are you doing what you’ve been called to this year? Not the youth ministry down the road, but this youth ministry.
The mid-year point in youth ministry is an opportunity to return to the bigger questions around why you do what you do and whether or not your programs, studies, and events are facilitating this. Head out of the office and ask God to grant you clarity for the second half of the year.
At this mid-year point in youth ministry, may you use time well – reflecting on where you’ve been and what God’s been doing, as well as what needs attention.