Vision. For many of us, we are tasked with the responsibility of casting vision for our student ministry. From purpose statements to core values to models; there are plenty of resources available to help the youth worker dream, craft, visualize, and launch a purpose/vision statement. But how many of our statements support the over riding church statement.
I remember early in my ministry career casting vision that focused solely on the ministry, mission and growth of the student ministry. The purpose statement was tailored to what I envisioned the student ministry should look like, based on what other student ministries were doing.
A number of years ago, while transitioning from one ministry to other, I started rethinking how I thought about vision casting. I didn't want to find myself as an island within the context of church ministry. I wanted to understand the direction that the leaders of the church were heading, and structure the student ministry to follow with the church. However, there wasn't much of a vision emphasis due to the church being comfortably established and healthily growing. I found myself taking their purpose statement and forcing it into what I knew, shaping it to reflect what I wanted.
But here I am a few years later, once again in transition, and once again tasked with vision casting. Only this time I'm doing things a little different. In God's perfect timing, the church that I am currently serving is launch a new vision and ministry strategy. The leadership had been hard at work, praying and seeking God's direction for the church, I just had to wait a little while as they finished up crafting the vision and establishing the ministry priorities. Coming into the position, I was determined to work within the context of the new church vision, and I'm glad I waited.
This weekend at our annual congregational meeting, our lead pastor and the elders shared the new vision with the church. I had the opportunity to see the final product days before the meeting, which allowed me to start praying and dreaming. The vision is solid. It gives the church a specific direction for ministry. The goals and priorities have been clearly presented. And I am excited about where the leadership believes God is leading the church.
It didn't take long to see how the student ministry fits into the church's overall vision. Very quickly and very easily, we were able to express the vision in terms that work for student. And because I waited to make any changes to the student ministry, I can now bring some fresh ideas into the ministry because of how they support the church's vision for ministry. While the church leadership establishes the vision as our new direction for ministry, I am able to come alongside our elders and move the student ministry in the same direction. No more Mickey Mouse ear's and no more ministry islands. Now our student ministry reflects the vision and ministry of our church.
SO HERE'S MY QUESTION...
How have you handled the vision casting and purpose statement writing in your context? Have you found it easier to take the books that have been written about purpose and vision and ministry models and apply it to your ministry? Maybe you've found that your church's vision is out of date or less than effective, what are you doing within your student ministry in the way of vision and purpose? Or maybe in your context, the church has a great vision and ministry. What does that look like for you and your student ministry?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share your situation and what you're doing in terms of visioning and purpose setting! Leave you're thoughts and comments below!
Jay Higham is a 24 year veteran of student ministry; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently the Youth Director at Hickory Church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for 19 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, 4 boys and 1 little girl. Jay is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and caring for the hearts of husbands. You can learn more about their ministry to the family and husband by visiting their family blog at, www.TheHighamFamily.com!