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What it takes to stay on target

27 Sep Student Ministry | Comments Off on What it takes to stay on target
What it takes to stay on target

Hit the Bull’s-eye

Recently, my 13 year old grandson came over to shoot my crossbow. (Editor’s note: no animals were hurt in this story!) Dominic wants to be the best shot he can be. So, he comes over to shoot at the target in my backyard. He is very intentional and strategic in how he practices, and every time he shoots he puts more arrows in the bull’s-eye.

In your ministry, when you’re doing well or things are succeeding, you may use phrases like “it’s a win” or “that was a homerun”. It’s our metaphor for celebrating successful ministry. For me, doing well is equated with hitting the bull’s-eye.

A Tricky Shot

From time to time, as a ministry leader, you may be asked or see the need to take a tricky shot. In those moments, it requires a certain amount of risk, courage, or both to aim for a new target. Perhaps it’s a moment where you become rather daring and pull the plug on a program or event. Perhaps you even decide it’s time to kill one of your ministry’s sacred cows.

You make that decision because that thing had become old, outdated, or tired. It was no longer on point with your ministry’s vision.

Sometimes no one notices, other times there is strong pushback but you know you’ve made the right and courageous decision. Sometimes it feels like they’d love to turn the crossbow on you.

But when you’re asked to take that tricky shot, are you really on target with your ministry’s larger vision or are you just shooting aimlessly? Today, four tips on hitting the mark with your ministry planning and decisions.

Hitting the Ministry Bull’s-eye takes 4 things

1.      Know your target

You don’t get credit for hitting bull’s-eyes on the wrong target so you’d better know what your target is. Are you shooting at the target that your pastors or board are expecting you to hit? At least once a year, clarify with your supervisor what your bull’s-eye is. This may be in the form of reviewing the mission/vision statement or at the very least reviewing your job description. No matter how well you’re shooting if it’s at the wrong target you won’t be around long.

 2.      Evaluate your outcomes

Now that you’ve identified the correct target, evaluate how well you’re shooting. Make time to evaluate every event and program. Are they producing the desired outcomes? Are you hitting the target? You may be working extremely hard but if you’re not producing the desired outcomes, you’ll be shocked when you’re let go.

 3.      Improve your techniques.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice does. Continue to learn. Be a student of ministry. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Approach others for advice. Constantly seek out ways to grow as a disciple and as a minister.

 4.      Don’t become complacent.

Remember, yesterday’s victory doesn’t guarantee tomorrow’s success. Just because you’ve hit the bull’s-eye in the past doesn’t mean you’ll do it again. With culture and students changing so rapidly, the reality is your ministry target is moving as well. The moment you think your ministry is on target and you start to coast, you’ll wake up with the dinosaurs. Don’t let complacency lead to irrelevancy.

photo by Marz Photography

 5.      Pray. Pray. Pray.

Your kids aren’t like my kids. No one knows what your student’s need better than the Holy Spirit, including you! Allow Him to guide you every step, because He will, and your ministry will be right on target.

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.