One of my major responsibilities in my role as Next Gen Pastor is to make sure that there is alignment between our Next Gen Ministries in our church. I need to make sure that our Kids min and our Student min are all pulling in the same direction so that we can be effective in the life of a kid or teenager. That is a very important task. Sometimes what happens is this: the Kid’s pastor & the Youth pastor may work at the same church, in the same office… they may even share a wall in that office, but from the outside looking in, you would think they worked at two entirely different churches. Why? Because leaders want to lead… and “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Well… that is a little dramatic (thanks Proverbs) but it highlights a principle that if there is no common vision, leaders will create vision. And when leaders in an organization begin creating separate visions… it usually leads them in separate directions. This is what we call SILO ministry… Where every leader does what is right in their own eyes. So the Next Gen Pastor’s job is to CAST a COMMON VISION for the Next Gen ministries so that they can pull together toward a common goal. YAY!!!
So… big question: “What do you do to align those ministries and ministry leaders?
Over the next couple of weeks I want to take some time to answer that question. I’ve discovered 8 things that create next-gen ministry alignment in our ministry that I would love to share. (there are probably WAY MORE than 8… but I ran out of room on my paper in my journal… so I stopped at 8 🙂 )
Here are the first 2:
1. Create and Cast a VISION and VALUES for Next-Gen ministries.
The beginning of ministry alignment is to reorient our ministries and ministry leaders around a shared vision of where we want our ministries to go and what we want them to work together to accomplish. Our MISSION is our goal, our VISION is what propels us toward that goal, and our VALUES act as guardrails to make sure we head toward that goal.
I am of the belief (no matter what PDYM says) that our kids ministry and our youth ministry mission statements need to be the same as our overall church mission statement. We are all on the same team shooting for the same goal. Now… VISION… that is something different, and it kind-of has to be. Why? Because what propels adults to our mission is not the same as what propels kids and teenagers toward our mission. That is what caused us to come up with a separate vision statement for our Next Gen world at Hopevale. Our Next Gen vision statement is:
For every kid and teenager to HEAR about, KNOW, and EXPERIENCE an authentic relationship with Jesus.
Those 3 words actually dictate our vision for our 3 separate areas in Next Gen:
Preschool – HEAR
Elementary & PreTeen – KNOW
Students/Youth – EXPERIENCE
We talk about that vision OFTEN!
we also came up with 5 basic Next Gen values that keep us going toward our mission. They are: AUTHENTICITY: “Be Real” , EXCELLENCE: “Be Exceptional“, PRESENCE: “Be Available“, HUMILITY: “Be Teachable“, & COMMUNITY: “Be Vulnerable.” These are important in our world because they keep us focused on our mission and vision.
2. Develop Common Language to Rally Around.
If you want alignment on your teams… your teams have to speak the same language to each other. This is something that I have worked REALLY HARD ON (whether my team knows that or not) and I think it shows. There are words or phrases that we throw around a lot… and I’m not even sure if we recognize it or do it on purpose anymore, it just happens… and we all know exactly what it means and what it implies. One of those phrases, for example, is that we “Partner with parents.” We all say it, we all know what it means, and it drives us to our goal. We even know when we aren’t doing this and someone says “We need to be better at “partnering with parents” on this one.” Creating common language reinforces common vision.
There are the first two on my list… and these are where I would start, personally.
Next week we’ll talk about the next two ways you can align your next-gen ministries into a solid Next-Gen team.