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Fresh Eyes

06 Sep Student Ministry | Comments Off on Fresh Eyes
Fresh Eyes
 

Everyone needs fresh eyes.

I’ve heard it said that “Those who can’t do, teach.  Those who can’t teach, consult.”
*Bah Dum Tss*

Here’s one more:

Dilbert Cartoon

Consultants might get a bad reputation from time to time, but in reality, they can provide helpful insight and new ideas to our situation(of course, most of them have done and do teach). Beyond the professionals, however, there’s an incredible pool of consultants all around us. At camp we like to call them A Fresh Set Eyes” and we’ve found them to be incredibly beneficial… and even better, free!

A few days ago I was having a conversation about new camp signs around our property and along the road.  We talked in circles for a few minutes, before quickly agreeing that a fresh set of eyes would be extremely helpful.  Our familiarity with camp makes is difficult to see things the same way as the people we serve, whether those people are brand new or returning.

We needed fresh eyes to see what we were overlooking.

The same is true of your student ministry.

Find fresh eyes to look at your ministry.

As the new school year has started, I’m sure things are ramping up for you.  New students are moving up into the ministry and you’re busy training new volunteers. Now is a great time to find a fresh set of eyes for the ministry.  It might seem like a low priority at the moment, but finding that person now means you can employee their “unfamiliar perspective and honesty” as the fall and winter seasons unfold.

As you look for some fresh eyes, look for people different from you. This might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how often we unconsciously seek out people who see things eye-to-eye with us. Make sure your list includes people from within, who are familiar with your ministry and people from outside your ministry.

You’re looking for someone who’s different – perhaps someone who works with teens from a different angle (parents, teachers, social workers, etc.), perhaps someone who works within the church with a different focus (associate pastor, deacon, greeter, etc.)

And of course, don’t forget the most obvious group, your teens!

What should fresh eyes look at?

A fresh set of eyes can be beneficial to the whole of your ministry.  Begin by creating a big list of areas or topics for your new student ministry consultant(s) to observe, think through and respond to.  Invite them to a service, give them some of your ministry resources to read, and ask them to join you for a big off-site event.

Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Teaching and Preaching (Environment, Style, Content)
  • Atmosphere (Lighting, Signage, Way-Finding, Seating Arrangement)
  • Music and Singing
  • Transitions
  • Community Building Elements (Greeters, Welcoming Environment, etc.)
  • Your student ministry calendar
  • Communication with Parents (and the Church)
  • Potential Barriers like Insider Language, Assumptions, Unclear Instructions
  • Can you see our mission? Do you hear our mission?
  • The Gospel

I wish I could tell you all the great things you would discover with a fresh set of eyes… but that is why you need them.  I am certain you won’t be disappointed.

Ben Myers
Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp
Ben Myers has served as the Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp in Brackney, PA for the past 13 years. Arrowhead is a ministry committed to discipleship through its programs for adults with developmental disabilities, missions opportunities for youth groups, and mentoring of High School and College students. Ben also teaches as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and holds degrees from Cairn University and Baptist Bible Seminary.