By: Dave Ramseyer

In the fall I often feel like I am moving from one thing to the next quite rapidly. However, my summer schedule feels different. I have busy weeks that are all in; like a week at camp. But then I have some weeks where the pace feels a bit different. In those weeks I schedule half days (or longer) to pray, think, and plan. Crazy… I know. The summer season allows me space to ask important ministry questions that sometimes get bypassed in a busier season. For instance, when is the last time you asked if your current relational ministry activity was fostering the results you set out toward? Questions like this take holy space. If you need this kind of space to critically consider the upcoming school year, below are a few recommendations.

Creating the Space:

  • Schedule ahead of time to hold certain dates/time frames for this kind of prayer, thinking, and planning.
  • Give yourself at least a half of a day at a time. You could do longer…
  • Plan several of these placeholders over the course of the summer
  • Find a location that works for you and aids this kind of thinking
  • Start by praying and journaling to give your heart & head space to settle
  • Come up with a list of important questions or areas to consider deeply (see below for ideas)
  • Toward the end of your time, try to capture anything you sense God was stirring – this will help you see some of the tangible outcomes of your praying and planning but also give you a place to start from on your next time held in your schedule

Important Questions to Consider:

  • Is our current relational ministry activity fostering the results we set out toward? What areas are helping foster those results? What areas are not? What are the reasons? What could be changed? Why?
  • When I look at the meetings/gatherings I lead with ministry leaders (adults volunteers and student leaders) what values am I elevating? Are they the values and priorities I want elevated? How can I make changes that point these leaders to our main values and priorities?  (could ask the same question about lost teen focused gatherings)
  • What are the main obstacles hindering our capacity to reach more young people with the good news in our area? Are there any areas, if we were to make changes, that might unleash more capacity for this relational ministry work with lost teens? Do I need to change how I spend my time so we can grow our capacity to reach more teens?
  • Overall, what does the team need to do more of? Less of? Stop doing? Start doing? Why?
  • Remember there are always other questions based on your current context and atmosphere.

All in all, this discipline of carving out time to ask important questions is simply a practice to help us align with the Lord to best steward the calling to reach lost teens in our community. In the midst of the busyness and details of the day to day we often forget to pause and join the Father in thinking forward. Though I recommend this practice for the summer ministry season this is obviously a great practice to do throughout the ministry year. You will always be thankful when you create this kind of space to pray, think, and plan forward.

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