Monday, February 16, 2009

Vision and Goals for 2009

A couple of weeks ago, we had a parents meeting at church.  I had the opportunity to talk to them about some of the changes that were going on in the ministry and address some of their concerns.  I also had the privilege of sharing my vision and goals for our ministry for 2009.  I have been working with our executive pastor to determine what are some measureable goals that we could come up with for the youth ministry.

Our group has had some past problems that causes us to not have very many Juniors or seniors, so this will help us meet some of these goals just by adding a full grade.  I know ministry isn't all about numbers, but when you request staff people and big budgets, someone wants to know why...

Here are the goals that we came up with...
  1. Refuel Attendance Growth by 50%, Increase from average 60 to 90 per week - Refuel is our main weekly program.  This number includes both Jr & Sr high.
  2. Flite Group Growth by 150%, increase from 4 -10 groups that meet each week
  3. Sunday School attendance by 30%, increase from 36 to 50 average weekly
  4. Student Leaders Trained -15 - We are in the process of developing our student leader program.  We are trying now to determine who those students would be.
  5. Flite Ministry Teams increase from 6 to 9 teams - Currently we have our praise band, drama team, dance team, video production team, computer team and hospitality team.  We want to add a few more teams.  Some suggestions have been a marketing team and jazz band
  6. Adult Leader from 20 to 40 - This would be defined as those students who commit to helping the student ministry and who become "Because We Care" certified. 
  7. Confirmation Retention 50% - The two years I have been involved in Confirmation, the percentage of retention has been 31 and 70%.  We want students to go through confirmation and stay involved in the church and the youth ministry.
These goals are all about our numerical growth not about the spirituality of the group.  As the year progresses we will evaluate these goals and adjust them as needed.  I feel good about these goals and really believe that we can meet them. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Taking the blame...

The past couple weeks have been pretty interesting for me.  A couple weeks ago I had student get mad at me and blast me on Facebook.  They contended that I did only what I wanted to do in the youth group and was taking all the fun out of the youth group.  This started a conversation among a few students and I felt it warranted being handled publicly.  I never outed the student but I did confront them personally but also wanted to deal with the whole issue as a group.
I held an impromptu parents meeting last Sunday night.  I sent the email out on Friday and before the Sunday meeting, had received emails from all kinds of people asking questions about the meeting, worried about how far this has gone or wanted to know what was going on.  I really didn't expect the attention.  Sunday night came with almost 90 people in our worship area, over 30 of those were parents.  I was excited about the number of parents that showed up, I didn't expect that many.  I was glad for their passion for the ministry and I was eager for their input.

The overall feel of the meeting was positive.  There was no arguing, back biting or name calling.  The whole group sat around tables, this helped keep the conversation contained and productive.  I was given some great feedback from the parents and students.  Some ideas we will be able to work on, others just don't make sense for us.  As the youth pastor, I am charged with making decisions that work for all the students involved, not just a few.  This means that I sometimes have to make unpopular decisions regarding programming, curriculum or leaders.  The funny thing about the whole meeting, was I think very few students even knew really what was going on.  The positive that came out of this meeting was that I got a ton of support from parents and I was able to share my vision of the youth group with them, as well as some goals for 2009.

So how do you handle blame when it comes to changes in your ministry:

  1. Be Prepared: Never make decisions in a fast manner.  Any good decision is going to take time and effort.  This goes from the smallest to the largest change.  In our case, we were making a timing change to our Sunday night youth worship, eliminating 30 minutes of hangout time for the students.  This decision took us almost 6 months to make because we wanted to make the right decision
  2. Talk with others: Don't be afraid to be told your idea sucks.  Talking to others helps you to process the decision better.  You can list the good and bad points, weigh your options and look at it from all sides.  Even teenagers don't like change, so make sure of what you are wanting to change and why
  3. Know the Reason Why: Always know why you are making a change.  This may seem weird, but we sometimes get caught up in wanting things our way (especially new youth pastors) that we sometimes don't think of the implications.  There are many good and valid reasons to make a change, just know what yours is
  4. Keep the Leadership in the Loop: I didn't do this as well as I should have but I know next time.  We meet on Sunday night and are usually the only thing going on, thus any changes really don't affect anyone other than us.  I did reassure my senior pastor that this meeting wasn't a major deal and if I needed his help I would talk to him.
Being the lead youth pastor means that I am paid to take the lumps.  I did my best to put all the weight for this decision while still making sure people knew what we were doing before we did it.  Again, change is never easy for students or adults.  Always cover your butt when making MAJOR decisions