When I was first learning to drive, I made a typical mistake—I was constantly fixated on the road right in front of me…as in only a few feet in front of me. Now, if you are only planning on going a few feet, this works just fine. But if you are driving down a highway this “immediately-in-front-of-me” fixation can soon steer you right off the road. You need to set your eyes on a point or object in the distance, and then adjust your steering to that point. It makes all the difference!
Often in children’s ministry, we make this same kind of mistake. We become fixated with what is right in front of us: How many new Sunday school workers will we need to recruit for the fall? What programs will be available on Wednesday nights? Do we have special speakers lined up for missions week? What will be the focus of our Christmas program? This is not to say that these are unimportant questions. They need to be addressed. But, if these are the only things steering our ministry, a few years down the road we may find that our ministry feels aimless, or has gotten off course.
That is why at Children Desiring God we like to talk about a vision-driven approach to ministry. How is it different? One way is to look “down the road,” so to speak, at your desired destination, and then fix your course. For example, Pastor David Michael suggests looking ahead 20 years and asking questions such as…
- How can we raise a generation of men and women who have a biblical understanding of God?
- What will we do to help them understand the Gospel and be able to apply it and live it out in their lives?
- What steps will we take to encourage children to grow in faith as well as in their knowledge of the Scriptures?
- What portions of the Bible do we want these children to be able to quote from memory in 2031?
- How would we want them responding when tragedy strikes, or when they face suffering in their lives?
- What steps can we take to make sure they are meaningfully engaged in the church and not just pew sitters 20 years from now?
- What components of our ministry best fit our goals, and what activities are less productive and perhaps wasting precious time and resources?
See the difference? It is not that the previous questions are not addressed. Rather, they are addressed by first asking, ”What is our destination?” and then, “How can we best get there?” Listen to these inspiring words from Pastor David Michael: