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I start with an apology.

I know it’s been a few weeks for those faithful who expect something weekly on this blog. But I must confess, there are times in our lives that we become completely consumed with work where priorities must be identified, itemized, and checked off piece by piece. Have I found myself finally caught up? Any full time, part time, or volunteer youth pastor knows the real answer to that question. 

Our program is going through this exciting thing right now called “Youth Visioning.” Back in September, I was preparing myself for a shower and all of a sudden I felt God breath this line into me: “Things are not working.” It was hard to hear. We can get caught up as youth pastors thinking that we’re awesome, we have a lot of great answers to anything, and kids love us. It may not be true for yourself, but it was the crossroads I had found myself at. 

One of the things I thought when God first charged me with this challenge was that somehow it was going to be so easy. It was as if I was going to walk into my Youth Support Team meeting (the group who is most intimately involved in the planning, organization, and details of our program) and tell them how I thought things were sucking, and we were all going to hold hands, pray, smile, cry, and walk out changed and ready for a fresh start. 

It’s month eight. 

Visioning is challenging because it takes a lot of honest evaluation of the self. Youth pastors must start asking themselves, “What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?” Parents and leaders have to also ask the same question: “What is it we’re good at?” And when going through the process of visioning, we are all forced to seek out something which truly identifies us.

Visioning is also tricky, because it’s something that never stops evolving. If we had made a decision in September of one thing to pursue, I can almost guarantee the original idea would differ from ideas today. 

It’s my opinion that visioning is healthy. Time consuming? Absolutely, and the very reason for my writing absence recently. But, it’s such a great experience to walk along side of people, asking them the deep questions of tangible ministry: “What is it we really want to do here?” I’m constantly amazed at the answers boiling up from the frustration, laughter, confusion, and revelations that comes from this exploration of a program. 

  • Have you gone through a visioning with your youth program? 
  • What is the biggest thing you discovered in the process of visioning?

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