By Steven Ackley
The goal of young adult ministry is to reach, develop, and deploy young adults for the mission of God and the growth of the local church. It may sound easy, but the reality is that people don’t always move the way and when you want them to. So here are five questions to help you cast vision for young adult ministry in your church.
1. What is vision?
If you search for a definition of vision, you’ll quickly be bombarded with options. When we talk about vision in the church, we mean the imagined better future for a ministry. Ultimately, vision must be cultivated by God but is often intertwined with the creative wiring of the individual on whose heart He has put this desired future.
A word of warning when it comes to developing vision for your young adult ministry: don’t let it outshoot the vision of your church. Vision for a ministry must always fit in the larger vision for your church.
2. How do you cast vision?
Vision is intended to be shared, but how you share is important. Consider concentric circles. The smallest circle would be you and your leadership team. Next would be the larger group of leaders for your young adult ministry. Beyond that are young adults in your ministry and finally young adults outside your ministry who may one day become part of it.
Vision should be communicated from the heart. Vision cast purely from the mind will not inspire. Vision should be compelling and moving. Appeal to the desires and imagination of those listening. Facts and figures may help some, but ultimately you need to help people feel as if what they want and need from young adult ministry can and will be accomplished through this vision’s fulfillment.
3. Who should cast vision?
Part of this will be influenced by the structure of your church and ministry, as well as who the vision is being cast for. I’m a proponent that the best person to cast vision is the one in whom it is most alive. Typically that will be the one with whom the vision originated, but sometimes there is a better communicator who could most effectively do this, like your senior pastor.
4. When should you cast vision?
Timing will differ based on circumstances, leadership style, and the degree of change that accomplishing the vision will require. Generally speaking, you’ll want the vision to be well thought through, describable, and connected to the larger vision of your church. Then chart out the plan for when to cast vision for your young adult ministry.
Make intentional plans to share this vision with your leaders, those in your ministry, and those in your church. When you share this with your pastor, don’t do so in a big meeting with lots of other people. Don’t surprise your leaders by sharing it with the ministry before they know. And don’t decide on a whim when and where to do this. Be intentional about when you cast vision, and be sure you can clearly articulate it and connect it to the larger vision of your church.
5. What else is important?
Consistency is key each and every time you share your young adult ministry vision. Don’t add or diminish elements as you go. Let what God has stirred take root and commit to it. Don’t be reactionary and keep shifting around.
Also be sure to cast the vision in such a way that invites people to participate. Don’t just tell them about a better future that doesn’t include them. Casting vision should include a call to action. Be sure that this better future helps people see that what they are a part of has a future bigger than what they know today. Paint a picture that inspires others to want to participate.
Casting vision for your young adult ministry is crucial to the success of reaching, developing, and deploying young adults for the mission of God and the growth of the local church. Be sure you know what, how, who, when, and why as you cast vision and you’ll grab the hearts of what could be in the better future you imagine for your young adult ministry.
Adapted from Training Pathway: Young Adult Ministry on Ministry Grid.