You can have the best ideas ever and create strategic plans for your youth ministry ‘till you’re blue in the face, but unless others support you, you’ll never get anywhere. It’s very important to have vision, but it’s equally important to have people support your vision. So how do you do that? How do you create support for your ideas and plans and get people to cheer you on? It’s all about the three R’s:
Research your plans
The first thing that’s important is that your plans for your youth ministry are well researched and well developed. You need to know what you’re talking about and be able to back it up with numbers, statistics and facts. Many plans are grand in scope, but very sketchy on the details and no one will support those. People need to see your vision is grounded in reality.
If you have a plan for instance to reach unchurched youth by opening a youth café, support it with a realistic budget, solid prognoses for sales, requirements for the room/building needed, etc. The more detailed your plan, the easier people will support you.
Reputation is everything
If you want to make big changes, to start new things in your youth ministry, you need to have a good reputation. That’s not something you can develop overnight, it’s usually the results of a couple of years (at least) of outstanding serving in your church. People need to know that you know what you’re doing, that you’re trustworthy and have integrity and that you don’t just talk the talk, but walk the entire walk as well. You need to have a track record of great servant leadership. Once you have established a reputation like that (and needless to say it has to be authentic, truly based on who you are), they will follow you into new, uncharted territories.
Networking has a bit of a opportunistic sound to it, yet it’s of great importance even in youth ministry. Now I’m not saying who you know is more important than what you know, or any such cliché. You should never get sucked into church politics for the power and glory of it all. I am saying however that good relationships with key players and decision makers can help build crucial support for your ideas and plans.
It’s okay to be intentional about developing good relationships with those you need for your youth ministry, as long as you do it lovingly and with integrity. Don’t resort to manipulation or such tactics. Just make a list of the people you need to make your plans a reality. Start praying for them earnestly and then take the first steps into building a relationship. A good start is often by seeing how you can help them, serve them and go from there. If you can ‘sell’ your ideas and plans to them informally, getting their formal support and approval will be a piece of cake.
Are you intentional about getting support for your ideas and plans? How do you go about this?