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I definitely do not think that the main focus of a youth minister should be the "business/admin" side of things. In fact, I would say that letting that stuff take up too much of your time is a severe WASTE of time. If there is something that someone else can do, let them do it! I think we agree on this point.
In one sense I totally agree with you: we need to focus most of our time on a small group of people who then will influence their own small group and so on (see the diagram in the post above). The question is, who should make up that small group of people: students or leaders? I am suggesting that the group should have some students in it, but other than that should be mostly made up of adult leaders.
If you spend your ministry working with a group of 12 teens (let's use your number) and every 6 years you get a new group of 12, over the course of 42 years you would be able to influence 84 teens in a deep, personal way. However, if you switch those 12 teens out for 12 adult leaders (who then in turn work with their own group of 12 teens), you could influence just over 1,000 teens. Keep in mind that I'm not talking about a mega-church atmosphere, but a group of 12 leaders and one youth pastor (or head leader) ministering in a very personal and intimate way.
That model allows for much more influence to happen overall than one person dealing with a single group of 12. I think as Christians, our goal has to be to use our time in the most effective way possible and, when it comes to being effective (having the most ministry in the lives of the most people), ministering to leaders is the way to go. Again, I'm not saying that we should ignore the students, but that we're missing out on ministry if we ONLY focus on students and don't spend good quality time training up leaders to help us in our ministry.
I'm not suggesting the a youth pastor should NOT work with the students in his group, only that one man can only influence so many people in a deep way. After that, we have to reproduce ourselves (through discipleship) in order to bring more people to the place where they can begin to help us influence students.
I think the question is, how big do you want your ministry to become?
Just wanted to drop in and let you know that I've been reading these posts from my gReader and really enjoying them. Keep it up!
In one sense, I totally agree with you. We need to never stop loving and trying to reach those who are not growing in our ministries. Our ministry to them should never totally end.
My thoughts are emphasizing that we can't let the thought of those students leaving our group to stop us from making positive changes to our ministry. If it comes down to it, do we teach that is very spiritually challenging but will make the "carnal" teens in our group stop coming? Do we push our students to serve the community even though the students who are uncomfortable with that may start feeling out of the loop, like they don't belong?
I say yes.
"I have learned that only in humility and servanthood can the calling of a worship leader truly be fulfilled."
This is so true! When we are proud, God is resisting what we are trying to accomplish. When our hearts are humble, He is accomplishing His will through us! (James 4:6)
How well do those shoes last?
I think you're hitting on some of the same things that Bill expressed. This "system" is clearly the biblical model, but it is also clear in the Bible that God cares about people, not programs.
This model answers the questions, "How can I serve these people I love and minister to most effectively?" If we are not asking the question out of passion for God (and consequently for our students and leaders) we have missed the bigger issue.