If you’re asking this question, you probably know the answer. COULD your congregation ever invest enough in youth? I don’t think so.
I know, I know, I’m preaching to the choir here. Everyone wishes they had a bigger budget for youth ministry. But having more money and investing in youth are not the same thing. Do you even know what you would do with more money? Any idea what results you’d achieve?
Most of us have spent time pleading with consistories/councils for more money for youth ministry. Sometimes that worked. Sometimes it didn’t. As I look back, I have to admit that my request for additional funds was rarely strategic and frequently short-sighted. What would have happened if I had a strategic vision for the next year, and the five years that followed? What would have happened if I would have set that vision out as a measurable goal? What if I had looked at my request as an investment rather than a funding increase? I suspect that I would have seen more success in my requests from the consistory, and I believe I would have moved the youth ministry to a healthier place.
I realize that youth ministry involves relational gifts, the ability to shift focus and change quickly. That’s great. That shouldn’t change. But I wonder if I would have spent my budget differently had I also looked at those funds as an investment in some incredible youth.
Part of me says that mentioning strategic planning for youth ministry is crazy talk. Though another part of me, the part that looks critically at the stuff I’ve done as a youth leader, realizes the shortcoming that my style of “winging it” has had on youth ministry in my church.
So I open the question up to you folks. Are terms like “strategy” and “investing” helpful in youth ministry? Anyone created a strategic planning process that led youth from children’s ministry to youth ministry to college?