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? 



7 thoughts on “D&W: Where do I begin?

  1. Two points of contention.
    First, “share the Gospel every week (better yet, every time you meet).” I have tried this method way back in the day. I came to realize I started to sound like a used car salesmen trying to sell Jesus. Jesus didn’t even share Himself every time He spoke. Do you think your good student church goers who have been attending youth group for a while now may think this Gospel presentation is redundant and not effective if you are doing every meeting? Plus you may be getting kids re-saved and re-saved because they are scared to death that last week’s acceptance was not legit. I think this method is over-kill. I think once a month is just fine and that may even seem to be repetitive. Again I think D2S biggest weakness is that they interpret Jesus’ only message as get kids into heaven! Jesus’ teachings are more than just getting kids life time fire proof insurance policy.

    What do you think the odds are that this new kid who Joe just brought will trust you as the youth pastor to tell him how it is without a consistent relationship?

    Second, “You and your team need to model this on a personal level”. I think this is basic youth pastor skills 101. If we are offering up Jesus we better have some sort of resembles like Him. My problem with this idea is that we as their leader some times buy into this illusion to put on the holy-fake-Church smile (even though our day sucked, we got in a bad fight with our wife, a student cussed us out) and show up to youth group pretending everything is all fine and great and that God is good. When in reality we are feeling the exact opposite of what we are conveying to our students.

    I hear ya…lets model the teachings of Jesus but if we are hurting, doubting, questioning, down in the dumps, etc… let us not pretend like we are fine. Instead of telling the student we will pray for them, how about we ask the student to pray for us?

    In addition, I think teens can instantly discern who is the real deal and who is trying to fake it to make it. So let us not try to hard to prove to teens we are spiritual.

    Lastly does anyone else think this “shredding the gnar” thing is kind of cheesy? I am from California and if a surfer heard someone actually say this….well….. they probably wouldn’t take you seriously and what you had to say seriously.

  2. Jeremy – thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always appreciate getting varied perspectives and insights from other Youth Leaders. I figured I would go ahead and respond because I think there might be a few misperceptions that I certainly didn’t intend for.

    1) As far as sharing the Gospel, I agree if you say it the same way week after week it could get old, redundant, and you might seem like a used car salesman. Whether you close with it, interlace it into your study, ask your small group leaders to do it, ask students to share their faith, teach directly about the death & resurrection, or take your scripture (whatever you are teaching) and tie it into the cross…be creative each week. Nothing says the method of delivery has to be the same all the time.

    I don’t think I (or D2S for that matter) have ever gone to the extreme that Jesus’ only message is to get teens to heaven, but I would say it is the most important message to teach and share.

    2) When I talk about modeling D&W in our personal lives, it has nothing to do with being fake either. I would never ask someone to put on a mask, pretend to have it all together or fake it. I have never liked it when Christians do that and I thank God I go to a church that isn’t like that. What I was referencing is if we want our kids to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus Christ AND share the Gospel with their friends, they need to see us living out those same expectations. I love how David expressed every degree of emotions in the Psalms, but he always came back to God. He was an incredible example of continually growing deep in his relationship with God in the midst of those tough circumstances in life. The MAP resource I mentioned from Dare 2 Share should illustrate that even more.

    So those are a few things I wanted to share in regards to your contentions. I hope they clear things up a little more. I actually have other thoughts I’d love to share with you but would much prefer a conversation vs. blog post exchange.

    If you’d like to discuss Deep & Wide in more detail or this blog for that matter, feel free to email me at jasonlamb@dare2share.org or call my cell at 303.815.8779. I would love to continue our discussion.

    PS – I know Shreddin the Gnar might sound a little “off” (I grew up on the East Coast as a beach bum so I totally get what you’re saying). It is actually something that was birthed out of Gospel Journey MAUI and we used it at our conferences. The teens in my small group that have experienced both continue to bring it up and what it represents so I like to run with it. 🙂

  3. How do we make Evangelism and Discipleship not an event. Now I am not anti-event, I do events, but are my students, and students in general looking at the Spiritual life like a roller coaster, where they live for the build up of a good event and then when the event is over, there is this let down.

    I know one way to help solve this is modeling it, but I can not spend enough time with every student outside of youth, for them to see a glimpse of me modeling this.

    One final question, where does ministering to nonbelieving parents fit into the Deep and Wide model?

  4. Jason I appreciate your feedback.
    I am sorry I biffed/misinterpreted your third point, but it, now, makes sense.

    So the shedding gnar stuff developed out of Maui? That make senses. I am not sure if D2S is touring California’s coastal cities, but if they are I would highly recommend they not use that saying.

    I would love to talk more with you especially about how D2S would say Jesus’ most important message is to challenge teenagers to teach and share.

    I have been trying to emailed D2S a while ago, but I never got a response. Although I was using the info email address and Greg’s admin email address.

  5. Pingback: A follow up to sharing the Gospel weekly « deep & wide youth ministry

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