Grow your KNOW – Bradden du Jary
Over my 12 years in youth ministry at LIFE, (9+ of those on staff), and having now shifted into running LIFE’s digital media and hosting Sunday services, I’ve experienced a lot of things, and it was always such an honour to lead and pastor young people. Being in church leadership is not a right, its an incredible privilege! Therefore it’s important we don’t take it for-granted.
In this blog I discuss leadership keys to growing your know:
1. Know the WHY behind the WHAT
Ask yourself these questions:
– Why do we do what we do?
– Do we have a FOCUSED strategy?
– Why should we have a strategy?
– Where are we going?
– Why should we go in that direction?
– What is the vision?
– Why do we have that vision?
It’s key to know the direction in which your ministry or area of responsibility is heading.
“We are here to impact and change our generation with the reality of Jesus” – LIFE’s Vision.
Habakuk 2 talks of writing out the vision, making it plain so people may run with it. How simply can you articulate your vision, your direction? What about your goals and focuses? In fact, not just you, what about those that lead under you? How well can they articulate these things?
A WHAT driven ministry can only have momentum for so long. But a WHY driven ministry is like fuel to the fire.
“Does your team know the why behind the what?”
I believe our leadership teams need to be able to echo and amplify the heartbeat of what we are focusing on and trying to achieve in any given season. We can all easily fall into the trap of simply being numbers focused/driven or moved by the most pressing task at hand. When I first became the youth pastor at LIFE I stood up and told our whole youth ministry “we’re going to double by the end of the year and have over 1000 in our youth ministry.” But night after night we fell short of that, and disappointment grew in both my heart and the heart of our ministry. Don’t get me wrong, God is into numbers. After all there’s a book in the bible called Numbers! In the book of Numbers God told Moses to take a census of Israel. So there is great relevance to knowing your numbers. But for me I had lost sight of the WHY and was just focused on the WHAT. In fact it came down to the heart behind what we were wanting to see and achieve.
On a practical note, It’s good to know your ministries statistics, and not just you, but also your team. You may have heard the term: “Knowledge is power”, and to a degree I think there is truth in that statement.
“The more we know about where we are at and where our those we lead are at, the more empowered we are to effectively impact and influence peoples lives and build a ministry that is growing and effective.”
I’m not into generalisations, I’m not into just hearing about the “great vibe” or the “good feels”, although it’s valuable to know, but I’m someone who’s into the detail. Getting into the detail has helped me direct time, energy, focus, people and financial resource into the right areas.
2. Know that people are our priority
I’ve had many conversations with people over the years that say, “well if you just ran more of your bigger events (The WHAT) you’d have more people”. And yes, we do run, events but we are not an event driven youth ministry. I remember days when we’d have incredible growth in numbers on a Friday but our Connect Groups weren’t growing. people weren’t being discipled effectively, the number of those getting saved wasn’t translating to the number getting baptised. We’d see nights of over 100 teens making a decision for Jesus, but not ever stepping foot in a Connect Group. We had only built a crowd. And we had to shift to building a core. At one stage I cut over 50% of our youth events off the calendar. Yes, we saw a decrease in numbers as our focus went from events to discipleship. But we were getting an understand of the WHY behind the WHAT. And just because something runs well doesn’t mean it’s building and growing people. We were pumping all this money and time into big events but there was no lasting kingdom fruit.
3. B.I.G. Belong – Invest – Grow
I get asked often “How do you grow your youth ministry”. Everyone wants BIG growth and everyone wants an increase in numbers. An easy principle to go by, which you may have heard of is the B.I.G. principle:
BELONG – People of any shape and size to feel like they are apart of the family. Their place to belong, A church to call HOME.
INVEST – Your God shape, getting them to invest who they are, not just financially, into building the Kingdom. We are here to build the church, not something separate.
GROW – We believe that Planted People Prosper. We aim to get our people planted into Sunday church and Connect Groups so they can build meaningful relationships and grow in their personal relationship with Jesus. For them to get on a pathway where they understand their next step with their personal relationship with God.
I would say this all the time to high schoolers;: that if they had to chose, I would rather have young people attend Sunday church than be in our youth services. Youth will keep them coming for a season but Sunday’s will keep them for a lifetime.
The truth is we could all have “B.I.G.” ministries.
4. Know who’s aligned
The bible teaches that unity commands a blessing. For me, one of the most importing things to have in a team is heart alignment. So often people operate out of gift, but if it’s not attached to purpose, our ministries will end up ineffective. You may have great people on your team, extremely gifted people on your team, but if something’s not clicking then something needs to change or be addressed.
Who likes confrontation?…. NOT ME!
I’ve discovered that healthy confrontation is necessary in leadership. Whatever we avoid has the potential to inflict damage. I’ve had to sit down with leaders in our team over the years and address their heart alignment. It’s not easy, it can be awkward at times, and if led by the Holy Spirit, it’s worth it.
Early on in my church leadership I remember being sat down and confronted about my heart alignment. I always thought/attitude of “I wouldn’t do it that way…”, and I had to realise that I was not accountable for it, I was not fully uncharge of it, I hadn’t been delegated the authority, so I had to let those opinions and attitudes go and align my heart. I’m sure I was pretty difficult to lead in those early years!!!
5. Know where your fight lies
Ephesians talks about our fight being not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. In leadership there have been some things I’ve had to come to realise:
– You will let people down
– People will let you down
– Some areas wont grow
– Some things won’t work
A key for me was to know where the fight was. That then determined by prayer life, my planning, the language of my leadership, monthly preaching themes, what we needed to fast for and what we needed unity around.
6. Know the focus is not the focus
And finally I’ll leave you with this brief yet powerful revelation. It’s good to be planned out, to know what we need to focus on in each season. Yet as great as it all is, at the end of the day, our focus, our goal, our purpose, our desire, is that people would meet Jesus, receive His forgiveness, encounter the Holy Spirit, and fall completely in love with our Saviour!
“So, our focus is not the focus. Jesus is our ultimate focus.”
Bradden (B-rad) du Jary