Gearing Up for Fall, Step 1—Embrace and Communicate a Compelling Vision

In Minnesota, we like to joke that we have only two seasons—winter and road construction. Spring through fall brings a seemingly endless number of orange cones, rough roads, and crazy detours. Imagine navigating these challenges with no clear or compelling destination in mind. I’ll put up with the challenges for a restful week at a cabin, but not for a trip to a hotdog stand. The final destination makes all the difference.

Most of us are entering a type of “road construction” season with regard to children’s and youth ministry. Challenges abound. That is why it is so important to begin this journey with a clear, compelling goal in mind—one that will inspire the church, parents, teachers, and volunteers to join together for what may be a rough road ahead. We need a goal worthy of our greatest efforts and relentless perseverance. Something like…

Our goal (vision) is that our children and youth will, by God’s sovereign grace:

  • Come to genuinely know the truth of the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—by becoming acquainted with His divine character, glorious deeds, redemptive work, and steadfast promises as revealed in His inerrant Word, the Bible.
  • Honor and revere God in a way befitting His incomparable greatness and worth.
  • Treasure God with undivided love and devotion, experiencing Him as their all-satisfying joy.
  • Set their full confidence and hope in Christ alone, who through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and victorious resurrection, reconciles sinners to God so that they might live as His covenant people.
  • Live as faithful disciples of Jesus through grace-dependent, Spirit-empowered obedience to His holy and righteous ways, which day by day progressively conforms them into His image and likeness so that they will bear fruit and stand mature in Christ.
  • Do everything for the glory of God by proclaiming His excellencies in all they think, say, and do so that His great name might receive all honor, thanksgiving, and praise!

Or, to put it more succinctly,

Our goal (vision) is that the next generations know, honor, and treasure God, setting their hope in Christ alone, so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God.

Has your church been actively pursuing this kind of biblical vision? Is it being heralded from the pulpit? Has it been embraced in the pews, classrooms, and homes? Is it serving to inspire and guide the church and families through the “road construction” of the coming school year? What are some practical steps for moving forward? 

Next Steps for Ministry Leaders 

  • Take an active, visible role in proclaiming explaining the vision to the whole church body. Lead and feed the flock in this sacred endeavor. Inspire, support, and encourage the church, especially parents and ministry volunteers. 
  • Develop an overarching vision statement for your church (or you can use Truth78’s vision statement above). Use various means to distribute it throughout the church body.
  • In the coming weeks, commend the four-part video series, Foundations for God-Centered Children's Ministry to ministry leaders, volunteers, and parents. These 15-minute inspirational videos give an overview of the essentials on which to build a biblically solid discipleship model. 

Next Steps for Parents and/or Ministry Volunteers

  • Read the above-listed “Next Steps for Ministry Leaders.” If your pastors/elders are not currently providing clear leadership in this area, humbly and respectfully reach out to them. Ask if they would consider watching the Foundations for God-Centered Children's Ministry series as a starting point, or give them a copy of Zealous: 7 Commitments for the Discipleship of the Next Generations.
  • Take advantage of the other resources listed above and share them with others. 
  • Families: Develop an overarching biblical vision statement for your family this year (or you can use Truth78’s statement above). Print it out and place it in prominent places within your home. Recite it together from time to time, and use it to remind one another of what is most important in life. 

Yes, we are all heading into ministry “road construction” this year. But our ultimate goal remains the same. Let’s pursue it with unshakable confidence remembering this command and promise from the King of kings and Lord of lords:

…“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”—Matthew 28:18-20