I recently ran across a post where youth pastors were sharing the “Mission” of their ministry. There were tons of posts and as I read them one by one I kept waiting to see something that never came, and I was astonished. After reading about 10 missions statements I couldn’t believe that NONE of them said anything about reaching lost students.
There is a major debate in churches everywhere, (and of course that also means youth ministries) about whether your ministry should exist to reach the lost, or just mentor/disciple the people you already have. The problem with this debate is the major misconception that you have to choose one or the other. However too many youth ministries, whether intentional or unintentional, have made a choice and their choice is clear by their mission statement.
The problem with choosing between reaching lost students or discipling the students you have is that by choosing just one you are disobeying God in the other. God has called us to do both!! But all too often youth ministries totally miss the outreach part and for this reason.
Your mission statement should have SOMETHING about reaching lost students.
The answer to the question of whether or not you should be outreach focused, is no. It’s not that you should be, its that you NEED to be and here is why.
1. Jesus was
I am pretty sure there is no explanation needed for this one.
2. Jesus has called us to be
This is clear through many statements made by Jesus himself commanding his followers to reach people. But also through the attitudes of Jesus’ disciples who continued to be outwardly focused as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
3. We live in a world that desperately needs the church to be outwardly focused!
Turn on a tv, go spend a couple days at the local high school, or just simply look around at our world. We definitely live in a world that is in desperate need of Jesus and of people to bring Him to them.
When it comes to creating your mission statement there is no cookie cutter statement. They are all going to be different because everyone is different, and that is fine. Reaching lost students does not have to be your sole purpose, but it should be somewhere in your purpose!
So, does your mission have something about reaching students? Does your ministry do anything to reach lost students? Some of you need to rewrite your mission, change your mission completely, or change what you are doing to fulfill your mission.