Youth ministry requires that we are always on our toes. We are always looking for those events that give us a huge audience so that we can share the Gospel as effectively as possible and put ourselves in front of many faces to build relationships and share the love of Christ with them.
This effort that we put out starts at the very beginning when we put together our year long schedules. At this time, we are reviewing what has happened and dreaming about what will be in the future. We want the greatest success as possible for what we can do. In essence, we need to find what is going to build the greatest momentum for the ministry.
For those who have not taken physics in college, we want to give a clear definition of momentum. Momentum is not simply speed or acceleration of an object, for that is only judging something buy distance. Momentum contains the whole object, the speed that something is moving along with the weight of it and the direction it is headed. At the same time, you can not just instantly change the momentum to a different direction. It takes time, energy, and lots and lots of effort.
To put it in a formula, it looks like this: momentum = mass * (distance / time).
Quantifying that into ministry, when we look at the momentum of it, we need to understand where we are headed, who we are, and how we can keep pressing on. If we are standing still, plateaued with our sermons, and not inviting new students into the fold, we have no momentum. At the same time, momentum can be a negative affect, going the wrong way.
So how do we gain and sustain momentum in our ministry? Where can we put events into our schedule that push us in the right direction?
Know that God is the controller of all momentum. We start with this because “through Christ, all things are possible.” (Philippians 4:13) The next few points are how we can honor God by doing our best to serve students, but we must allow God to seep through our ministry as He is the only reason for salvation and purpose. “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV)
Look at what worked this last year. Start with what you know and build off of that. What happened this year that students were asking for more of? Which events did you finish and students went to Facebook and just cheered you up? Our best attended events can look like a lot of different things, including: feeding the homeless, paintball matches against college students, ski retreats, and summer camps.
Cut the good events to make way for the great ones. This is maybe the hardest part about scheduling. We can remain constant with doing good things and people will call this ministry a success, but if we are wanting to build momentum, we need to actually cut the good things to make room for the great ones. In business, we call this difference between good and great as the opportunity cost, “The true cost of something is what you give up to get it… Going for a walk may appear to cost nothing, until you consider the opportunity forgone to use that time earning money. Everything you do has an opportunity cost.” [Economist.com]
Allow for suspense. This means that we do not overdo the great events and even put a cap on how many people can come to it. Remember that only a part of momentum is the mass. You can have 100 people come to an event but have very little velocity (distance / time) about it. Sometimes the best momentum comes from smaller and faster objects. A bullet fired at me is worse than a basketball thrown at me by a five year old.
How are you going to build momentum into your ministry’s schedule?