I had an email conversation with a Youth Leader this past week regarding Dare 2 Share’s Deep & Wide Youth Ministry. We actually have some time scheduled this week to continue the conversation, but he posed this great question that I wanted to address as well as get your feedback too.
This Youth Leader and his team have all read and discussed Minitsry Mutiny, a book by Greg Stier discussing one Youth Leader’s particular struggles in ministry and how Deep & Wide gave him direction. The Youth Leader explained to me that his team loved the book and they have bought into the vision and philosophy that it offers. The looming question, and a great one at that, “Where do I begin?” So, here are a few of my thoughts but I’d love for others to chime in as well and provide your thoughts and insights.
- Share the Gospel every week (better yet, every time you meet): It may sound like a stretch or too much, but seriously share the Gospel at least once a week, even if you “know” that every teen in the room is saved. Here’s why: 1) Every teen might not be saved. After I adopted D&W into my own Youth Ministry I shared the Gospel on a Sunday morning, “knowing” that every teen had a relationship with Jesus Christ, and 5 of them made first time decisions to trust in Christ. Sometimes you just never know… 2) It will set the tone and culture of your Youth Ministry. If you are constantly sharing the Gospel your teens will expect it to take place and may even be more confident in inviting their friends because they know you will share it. Better yet, the more they hear it, the more likely they are to communicate the Gospel to their friends outside of your gatherings (shred the gnar!).
- Filter every aspect and event of your ministry through D&W: The idea behind Deep & Wide is that it will become part of your (and your ministry’s) DNA so no matter what you do in your ministry, Deep & Wide are in everything that you do. Take a look at your calendar for the year and ask of everything that you are investing your time in how Deep and Wide are evident. I cannot emphasize this enough as a great exercise for you and your team (if you have one) to sit down and do. I remember having a real gut check as we evaluated our annual ski trip. The purpose had been fun and fun alone. I’m not against having fun in Youth Ministry, but we can have purpose at the same time. We didn’t scrap our ski trip, we simply made it have a D&W focus. We themed our weekend (which actually helped the teens get even more excited) and built morning devos for the teens and evening Bible studies around that them (DEEP). My leaders and I committed to spend time with every guest and the teen who brought them to ensure the Gospel was communicated on an individual basis in addition to presenting the Gospel at our Bible studies (WIDE). We still had fun skiing but it became an event with life-changing purpose as well.
- You and your team need to model this on a personal level: Teens are more likely to buy into this if they see it modeled for them. A great resource to take advantage of is the MAP (Mobilization Action Plan) provided by Dare 2 Share Ministries. This is a great resource you and your adults can use to keep Deep & Wide at the forefront of your personal lives and keep each other accountable. Make copies of your MAP each month and share them with everyone on the team so you can keep each other accountable as well. CLICK HERE to learn more about the MAP resource from D2S.
- Download the Deep & Wide Youth Ministry paper (short – 16 pages / expanded – 44 pages) and take a look at the 7 steps to the X Factor. There are some practical steps provided there as well. CLICK HERE to download either one of the Deep & Wide papers.
So those are just a few of my thoughts (I literally could go on for days). For those of you who have implemented Deep & Wide into your ministry or you are in the process of starting, please share your ideas. What works? What hasn’t worked? What would you like to do?