ARE YOU MORTGAGING YOUR FUTURE? PLAIN TALK ABOUT YOUTH MINISTRY

YMCM

BY STEVE DUNN

Do you want to insure that your church in the future is functioning as a healthy, fruit-bearing congregation making disciples for Jesus?  Do you want the good work that God has begun in you to continue until its completion on the day that Jesus returns?

If that is the case, then it’s time to look at your church’s investment strategy.  Having something of value for the future requires wise spending today.  Notice, I did not say saving. The lowest return you can get is just salting away your dollars in some savings account,hoping that the meager interest return will somehow met the need of the future.  Generally you have to risk something you have now to make possible a greater return for the future.

Churches, like people, are wary of risk–preferring the declining comfort of what we have now.  And we are reluctant to make big investments for fear that we will mortgage our future with no guarantee of having what we believe we must have for the future.

This, however, is not an article about avoiding debt.  It is all about spending wisely as investment in a preferred future.  In particular our spending for ministry to our youth and children.

The most important resource your church will need for the future is people.  In particular, people who are committed to Jesus Christ and committed to His vision for the future of the Church.  Or to say it more blatantly, a disciplemaking church MUST make disciples.  Disciples who are sold out to Jesus.

This inevitably leads to a discussion about how we get youth into the church–or at the very least, keep the ones that have been born into the church.  Everyone knows four things about this issue:

     1. Sooner or later the oldest generation grows more limited in energy and ultimately dies.

     2. They must be replaced with younger generations.

     3. Young people after high school, if not before, leave the church for at least a season.

     4. Not every young person returns when they “settle down” and if they do it is not necessarily to the  church that they have left.

Now let me add some realities that we often do not acknowledge.  Realities that often define our “investment strategy.”

     1. The church, particularly worship, is designed to meet the needs of the adults.

     2.  Adults control the leadership and decision-making process of a church.

     3. We think idyllically of youth as the church of tomorrow.

      4. We rarely think of youth as the church of today.

      5. We provide few practical ways to let them be the church of today as young people.

      6. Children don’t even fit into the equation at all (the investment one).

Do you see the questions that are now emerging?  What must be our investment strategy for youth and children’s ministry that insures that the future is not mortgaged to the priorities of the present (and past)?

Join me in the next post, INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH for some answers.

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